Schenectady man accused of illegal money transfers to Sudan

A Schenectady man has been arrested on money transfer charges, accused of sending more than $1.2 mil
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A Schenectady man has been arrested on money transfer charges, accused of sending more than $1.2 million to Sudan over a 21-month period.

State police, who announced the arrest today, investigated the case with the Albany Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI and various state agencies.

Osman M. Osman, 52, of 32 Elm St., was arrested Dec. 5. He remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.

According to police:

Osman acted as an unlicensed money transmitter, also known as a “hawala.”

As a hawala, Osman used a series of individuals and businesses in an attempt to move money in secret to Sudan in order to avoid regulatory scrutiny. Most of the money was sent by individuals within the Sudanese community in the Capital Region to unidentified bank accounts and individuals in Sudan.

In the hawala system’s most basic form, money is transferred by means of a network of hawala brokers. A customer approaches a hawala broker in one city and presents a sum of money to be transferred to a recipient in another city, usually abroad. The hawala broker calls, faxes or e-mails another hawala broker in the recipient’s city, gives instructions for forwarding the funds (minus a percentage fee for the transfer), and promises to settle the debt at a later date.

Investigators target these illegal operations because criminal and terrorist organizations use hawalas as a means to move illicit funds to anywhere in the world, undetected.

The 3-year-old investigation continues, police said, but at this time, there is no known connection to terrorism in Osman’s case.

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