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Somali Man Convicted in Money Scam

April 30, 2002

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BOSTON (AP) _ A Somali man arrested in a post-Sept. 11 crackdown on money transfer businesses was convicted Tuesday of operating without a state license.

Mohamed Hussein, 33, was found guilty of two counts of illegally transmitting money abroad. He faces up to 10 years in prison, though federal sentencing guidelines call for two to three years.

Prosecutors never filed terrorism charges against Hussein, 33, or his brother, Liban Hussein, 31, who ran Barakaat North America out of a tiny office in Boston.

The government clamped down on al-Barakaat outlets across the country last fall. Investigators said the al-Qaida terrorist group skimmed money from the tens of millions of dollars that annually flow overseas through al-Barakaat, which is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates.

Prosecutors said the Husseins’ business wired about $2.8 million to an account in the United Arab Emirates between September 2000 and November 2001, even though the brothers knew they were breaking the law by not having a state license.

The brothers, natives of Somalia who hold Canadian citizenship, said their company simply helps Somalis send money home to their relatives. Through their lawyers, they have said they had no knowledge of any link between al-Barakaat and terrorists.

Mohamed Hussein’s attorney, William Cintolo, said he will appeal.

``This case had continually been identified as aiding terrorists, and although there was not one shred of evidence of that, it was impossible to overcome what may have been subconsciously in jurors’ minds,″ he said.

Prosecutors Joshua Levy and Allison Burroughs declined comment after the verdict.

Liban Hussein is free on bail in Canada, awaiting an extradition hearing.

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