Man Pleads Guilty to Lying in Terrorism Investigation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 29, 2012|
ORLANDO—United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces that Jonathan Paul Jimenez (28) yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to false claims and one count of making a false statement to a federal agency in a matter involving international terrorism. Jimenez faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for the conspiracy charge and up to eight years in federal prison on the false statement charge. Sentencing has been set for December 10, 2012. Jimenez was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 14, 2012.
According to court documents, the FBI has been conducting an investigation involving international terrorism. The investigation involves Marcus Dwayne Robertson and others operating an international travel facilitation network that sends individuals overseas to commit violent jihad.
According to court documents, in November 2010, Jimenez relocated from New York to Central Florida. He began training with Robertson in the skills necessary to participate in violent jihad overseas. The training with Robertson included martial arts, firearm and knife training, reading the Quran, and learning Arabic. During Jimenez’s training, Robertson stressed that Jimenez needed to focus on the religious aspects of his training, prior to perfecting the skills needed to commit violent acts.
In late May and early June 2011, Jimenez, with the assistance of Robertson and others, began making preparations for his overseas travel. Robertson assisted Jimenez with getting his photographs for his visa application and his vaccinations. On June 17, 2011, Jimenez departed Central Florida and traveled to New York by airplane. Jimenez expected to get his visa and then travel overseas.
During the course of the investigation, the FBI obtained evidence about the nature of Robertson’s training of Jimenez and the plan for Jimenez to travel overseas to engage in violent jihad. As part of the FBI investigation, a confidential source engaged in consensually recorded conversations with Jimenez and others. In those conversations, Jimenez stated that his “goal” was to “study and one day fight” and to “die on the battlefield.” He said that Robertson had told him that he was going to teach him how to shoot firearms and that it was permissible or obligatory to kill members of the armed forces. Jimenez also stated that Robertson had spoken with him about suicide bombings and that they were permissible. When Jimenez was interviewed by the FBI on September 22, 2011, Jimenez lied about making those statements.
To have funds available for him when he was overseas, Jimenez and others conspired to submit a false 2010 tax return for Jimenez. On the return, Jimenez falsely claimed three of Robertson’s children as his dependents and falsely represented that he lived with each of the three children for all of 2010. As a result of those false representations, Jimenez obtained a refund from the IRS in the amount of $5,587.
On August 23, 2011, Robertson was arrested by the FBI for being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He pled guilty to that crime in federal court on January 5, 2012, and is pending sentencing.
On March 14, 2012, Robertson was indicted with Jimenez for conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims. Robertson’s case is set for trial in October 2012. An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
These cases were investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. They are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.