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Guilty plea in Times Square bomb case

Aug. 18, 2011 at 11:49 PM

NEW YORK, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- A New York man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to running an unlicensed money transfer business between the United States and Pakistan.

One of the money transfers facilitated by Mohammad Younis was used to fund the May 1, 2010, attempt by Faisal Shahzad to set off a car bomb in Times Square, the U.S Justice Department said. Shahzad is serving a life sentence in federal prison for the attempted bombing.

Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the plea "should send a clear message that we will not leave a stone unturned in our investigations of terrorists and how they get the money to finance their plots."

Younis, 45, operated a "hawala," a sort of informal system of transferring monetary value without physically transferring money across international borders.

On April 10, 2010, he conducted two transactions that provided thousands of dollars to two customers "at the direction of a co-conspirator in Pakistan, but without knowledge of how the customers were planning to use the funds," the Justice Department said in a news release.

"One of the individuals to whom Younis provided money was Shahzad, who, on June 21, 2010, pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment charging him with crimes relating to his attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square," prosecutors said.

Younis faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000, or double the gain or loss arising from his conduct, the release said. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 30.

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