Victoria Jacobs

Victoria Jacobs is an Uzbek native, New York resident who is a supporter of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an internationally designated terror group seeking to unite all Muslims under one Islamic caliphate. Jacobs was indicted by the New York Supreme Court on January 31, 2023, on 11 charges, including providing support for an act of terrorism. Jacobs is the first person to be prosecuted in New York state for using cryptocurrency to provide financial support to terrorist groups in Syria.“D.A. Bragg, NYPD Commissioner Sewell Announce Indictment of Upper East Side Woman for Using Cryptocurrency to Fund Syrian-Based Terrorist Groups; Launder Supporters’ Contributions,” Manhattan District Attorney, January 31, 2023, https://www.manhattanda.org/d-a-bragg-nypd-commissioner-sewell-announce-indictment-of-upper-east-side-woman-for-using-cryptocurrency-to-fund-syrian-based-terrorist-groups-launder-supporters-contributions. A New York State Supreme Court jury found Jacobs guilty of the three felony charges on February 1, 2024.Jonah E. Bromwich, “Manhattan Woman Convicted of Using Crypto to Fund Terror Groups in Syria,” New York Times, February 1, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/01/nyregion/nyc-crypto-syria-terrorism.html.

A citizen of Uzbekistan, Jacobs was denied asylum in the United States in 2012. She sought to appeal the case in 2014, but the Board of Immigration declined to reopen the case. “Talipov v. Holder,” Casetext, November 19, 2014, https://casetext.com/case/talipov-v-holder. While living in New York City in September 2018, Jacobs reportedly began providing support to HTS. Jacobs sent more than $5,000 to Malhama Tactical, a terrorist training group that fought alongside HTS in Syria. The group also reportedly provides the U.S.-designated HTS with special tactical and military training. Jacobs allegedly laundered funds for Malhama Tactical using cryptocurrency and Western Union and MoneyGram wires from HTS supporters around the globe. The funds, which amounted to $10,661, were then sent to Bitcoin wallets controlled by Malhama Tactical. Jacobs also purchased Google Play gift cards for the organization.“D.A. Bragg, NYPD Commissioner Sewell Announce Indictment of Upper East Side Woman for Using Cryptocurrency to Fund Syrian-Based Terrorist Groups; Launder Supporters’ Contributions,” Manhattan District Attorney, January 31, 2023, https://www.manhattanda.org/d-a-bragg-nypd-commissioner-sewell-announce-indictment-of-upper-east-side-woman-for-using-cryptocurrency-to-fund-syrian-based-terrorist-groups-launder-supporters-contributions; Aaron Katersky, “New York City woman charged with financing terrorist groups in Syria through cryptocurrency,” ABC News, February 1, 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/new-york-city-woman-charged-financing-terrorist-groups/story?id=96818461.

Jacobs extended her support to an online group that she thought was affiliated with HTS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hurras al-Din. In December 2019, Jacobs provided a U.S. Army Improvised Munitions Handbook to the group to assist their bomb-making operations in Syria. By August 2021, Jacobs began purchasing military-style combat knives, metal knuckles, and throwing-stars. A month later in September 2021, Jacobs sought support from online forums as she claimed she was a “brother” that was “behind enemy lines” and that she needed prayers to build the “courage, strength, guidance, and wisdom to carry out certain missions.” She also uploaded a 15-second video that reportedly showed her moving around with a firearm, which security forces believed she sought to use in an unlawful manner.“D.A. Bragg, NYPD Commissioner Sewell Announce Indictment of Upper East Side Woman for Using Cryptocurrency to Fund Syrian-Based Terrorist Groups; Launder Supporters’ Contributions,” Manhattan District Attorney, January 31, 2023, https://www.manhattanda.org/d-a-bragg-nypd-commissioner-sewell-announce-indictment-of-upper-east-side-woman-for-using-cryptocurrency-to-fund-syrian-based-terrorist-groups-launder-supporters-contributions.

On March 14, 2022, Jacobs was arrested by Southampton Town Police in New York and charged with third-degree grand larceny. Jacobs reportedly carried out a rental scam in March 2019 in which she offered a prospective tenant a rental home, despite not having the right or privilege to rent the residence. She was subsequently released and was expected to appear at Southampton Town Justice Court on a later date.Lisa Finn, “Woman Charged In Hamptons Rental Scam: Police,” Patch, March 20, 2022, https://patch.com/new-york/southampton/woman-charged-hamptons-rental-scam-police.

Details are limited regarding the proceedings of the Southampton case. However, on January 31, 2023, the New York State Supreme Court indicted Jacobs on 11 counts, including supporting an act of terrorism, money laundering, conspiracy, and weapons possession.Curtis Brodner, “UES woman indicted for using cryptocurrency to fund Syrian terrorist group,” WCBS New Radio 880, January 31, 2023, https://www.audacy.com/wcbs880/news/local/ues-woman-indicted-for-using-cryptocurrency-to-fund-syrian-terrorist-group; Aaron Katersky, “New York City woman charged with financing terrorist groups in Syria through cryptocurrency,” ABC News, February 1, 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/new-york-city-woman-charged-financing-terrorist-groups/story?id=96818461; “D.A. Bragg, NYPD Commissioner Sewell Announce Indictment of Upper East Side Woman for Using Cryptocurrency to Fund Syrian-Based Terrorist Groups; Launder Supporters’ Contributions,” Manhattan District Attorney, January 31, 2023, https://www.manhattanda.org/d-a-bragg-nypd-commissioner-sewell-announce-indictment-of-upper-east-side-woman-for-using-cryptocurrency-to-fund-syrian-based-terrorist-groups-launder-supporters-contributions. Jacobs pleaded not guilty to the charges.Katersky, “New York City woman charged with financing terrorist groups in Syria through cryptocurrency,” ABC News, February 1, 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/new-york-city-woman-charged-financing-terrorist-groups/story?id=96818461. Opening statements for the trial began on January 16, 2024, and the trial lasted about two weeks.Jonah E. Bromwich, “Manhattan Woman Convicted of Using Crypto to Fund Terror Groups in Syria,” New York Times, February 1, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/01/nyregion/nyc-crypto-syria-terrorism.html. On February 1, 2024, a jury at the New York State Supreme Court found Jacobs guilty of using cryptocurrency to send financial support to terror groups in Syria.Axel Turcios, “NYC woman convicted of using bitcoins to fund terrorism in Syria,” WMAR (ABC News Baltimore), February 2, 2024, https://www.wmar2news.com/nyc-woman-convicted-of-using-bitcoins-to-fund-terrorism-in-syria. Jacobs’s sentencing is scheduled for April 3. She faces up to 25 years in prison.Jonah E. Bromwich, “Manhattan Woman Convicted of Using Crypto to Fund Terror Groups in Syria,” New York Times, February 1, 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/01/nyregion/nyc-crypto-syria-terrorism.html.

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
Type(s) of Organization:
Insurgent, non-state actor, terrorist, transnational, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Al-Qaeda affiliated group, Islamist, jihadist, Qutbist, Salafist, Sunni
Position(s):
Financial facilitator

Al-Nusra Front is an internationally sanctioned terrorist group, one of the strongest insurgent groups in Syria, and a formerly open al-Qaeda affiliate that seeks to replace the Assad regime in Syria with an Islamic state. Operating as part of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) coalition since January 2017,  al-Nusra Front stands accused of serving as a base for global al-Qaeda operations. 

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Fact:

On February 26, 2015, a Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a market in Biu, Nigeria, killing 19 people and injuring 20 others. A second attempted-suicide bomber was caught and beaten by a crowd before he was able to carry out his attack.

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