Oakland man indicted, allegedly attempted to aid ISIS through social media, ID theft

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)-- A 22-year-old Oakland man has been indicted for allegedly attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization the Islamic State group, U.S. Attorney Brian Stretch and other federal officials said today.

The indictment against Amer Sinan Alhaggagi that was issued by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on Thursday alleges that he knowingly attempted to provide services and personnel to ISIS between July and November of 2016 and notes that ISIS was designated a foreign terrorist organization by former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014.

The indictment alleges that the services Alhaggagi attempted to provide included opening social media accounts for the use, benefit, and promotion of ISIS.

It also alleges three identity theft offenses, two counts of identity theft and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Those counts alleged that Alhaggagi used a stolen credit card to make $4,932 in fraudulent online purchases from a clothing company.

Alhaggagi, who was investigated by the FBI and the East Bay Joint Terrorism Task Force, previously was charged last November with aggravated identity theft.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore ruled at a hearing in federal court in Oakland last Dec. 20 that Alhaggagi should remain detained in federal custody because prosecutors had met their burden of proving that
he posed both a serious flight risk and a danger to the community.

Westmore said prosecutors showed that Alhaggagi had spent significant time in Yemen, wasn't currently employed and had met "with undercover agents on multiple occasions to plan a potential terrorist

The judge also said she was concerned about statements that Alhaggagi allegedly had made about having plans to flee to Mexico and elsewhere after engaging in such an attack.

Alhaggagi's attorney, August Gugelmann, said in a statement, "Amer is not anti-American and does not support ISIS or any other terrorist organization."

Gugelmann said Alhaggagi "is completely nonviolent, took no actions to harm anyone and the evidence we have suggests these charges are based on Internet chat conversations that he had with a number of unknown people."

The defense attorney said, "Amer is a very young and naive man, and it appears he allowed himself to be drawn into conversations that he should have been far more suspicious of."

Federal prosecutors said Alhaggagi's arraignment hasn't yet been scheduled.

They said if he's convicted of all the charges against him he could face up to 47 years in federal prison and up to $1 million in fines.