FORT LEE, N.J. -- A 24-year-old former alt-rock singer from Fort Lee who was turned in by his mother for conspiring to support foreign terrorism in Iraq was sentenced to eight years in federal prison.
Federal agents seized Samuel Rahamin Topaz at his home in June 2015 and quickly followed with the arrests of three co-conspirators who they said planned to travel to Syria to join the foreign terrorist organization.
All three took deals from the government in exchange for leniency.Nader Saadeh, a Jordanian national who previously lived in Rutherford, got 10 years in federal prison on Monday .
Alaa Saadeh was sentenced to 15 years last May. Alaa Saadeh of West New York was sentenced to 18 years in February.
All admitted watching ISIL-related videos, some of which depicted the execution of non-Muslims and individuals regarded as apostates from Islam.
Topaz, who once played in a band in Englewood, also "admitted knowing that ISIS was a designated foreign terrorist organization that was taking over territory overseas, expelling non-Muslims from their homes, and executing individuals who did not obey ISIS’ commands," U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
The State Department uses ISIL to refer to the group — versus ISIS, which is used by most media outlets — which five years ago took over Mosul and large swaths of territory in both Syria and Iraq despite the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve’s attempts to defeat it.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton sentenced Topaz to lifetime supervised release.
Carpenito, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie of the FBI’s Newark Division credited special agents of the FBI and the Newark Joint Terrorism Task Force with the investigation.
( The JTTF is comprised of agents and officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Paterson Police Department and New York City Police Department, among other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. )
Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dennis C. Carletta and Francisco J. Navarro of the Carpenito's National Security Unit in Newark, with assistance from Trial Attorneys Justin Sher and Robert Sander of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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