Former Chandler woman sentenced for intending to use COVID funds to support terrorism

Feb 7, 2024, 8:00 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2024, 9:01 am

Perhaps around high noon near the prison....

A former Chandler woman was sentenced on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, to over six years in prison after she attempted to use COVID funds to support acts of terrorism in the Middle East. (AP File Photo)

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — A former Chandler woman was sentenced on Monday to over six years in prison after she attempted to use COVID funds to support acts of terrorism in Afghanistan, authorities said.

Jill Marie Jones, 37, was sentenced to 78 months in prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said.

She was arrested after attempting to conceal her identity when supplying money to someone she thought was a member of Al-Qaeda and pleaded guilty to concealment of funds intended to support acts of terrorism.

Former Chandler woman’s plot to use COVID funds to harm US soldiers overseas

Prosecutors said as early as 2019, Jones was regularly posting anti-American content on social media platforms, citing grievances over the alleged treatment of Muslims overseas by United States military personnel.

Jones, in 2020, then started talking online to a person she thought was an Al-Qaeda member, but it was actually the FBI.

In May of that same year, when the person she was talking to online asked her if she could provide money to buy weapons for Al-Qaeda to kill American soldiers. Although she wasn’t financially well-off, the recently disbursed COVID stimulus checks presented an opportunity, prosecutors said.

“The timing is interesting. Since because of coronavirus we all got government money. Free money basically. … [I]t would be most ironic the money that goes for this … They give us free money, and I turn it around on them,” Jones said.

Prosecutors said she agreed to send money but opted to do so discreetly by purchasing a $500 prepaid credit card using the COVID stimulus funds because she thought that method would prevent tracing the transaction back to her.

The FBI conducted the investigation in the case.

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Former Chandler woman sentenced for intending to use COVID funds to support terrorism