Ventura donated at least $705 intended to support ISIS through a gift card program.
An 18-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly trying to raise funds for the Islamic State through a dark web gift card program.
Mateo Ventura, of Wakefield, Massachusetts, was arrested for “knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources he intended to allocate to a foreign terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS),” according to a statement from the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office released Thursday.
Ventura allegedly provided several gift cards to someone he believed to be an ISIS supporter with the intention that these gift cards would then be sold on the dark web for slightly less than face value. Proceeds and profits from those sales would then be used to support ISIS, authorities said.
“Ventura reportedly said he wanted the proceeds to go to ISIS ‘for the war against the disbelievers’ (disbelievers),” the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office said in its statement announcing the charges against Ventura. “In total, it is alleged that between January and May 2023, Ventura donated $705 intended to support ISIS.”
If convicted, the penalty for knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to lifetime supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, authorities said.
Ventura appeared in federal court on Thursday before U.S. District Court Judge David H. Hennessy. It is unclear when Ventura will next appear in court.
“Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. sentencing guidelines and the laws that govern sentencing in a criminal case,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Massachusetts. “The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.”
The investigation is ongoing.