The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for the District of New Jersey recently announced that Sussex County resident Maria Sue Bell, 54, of Hopatcong, pleaded guilty to one count of “concealing attempts to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”
As part of her plea, Bell admitted that between February and November of 2018 she “knowingly concealed and disguised the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the attempted provision of material support and resources to fighters based in Syria who were members Jabhat Fath al-sham, also known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).”
She admitted to knowing that those groups are considered foreign terrorist organizations, and that they had participated in “terrorist activities,” per the DOJ. She also admitted to knowing that her attempted financial and material support of those groups would have been used to commit acts of violence.
Bell pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez. She now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or “twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.” Sentencing is scheduled for November 21, 2022.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge Jesse Levine, and FBI Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Timothy Langan. Agencies involved in the case include the DOJ, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Department of Homeland Security.