Jill Marie Jones, 37, formerly of Chandler, was sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge Dominic W. Lanza to 78 months in prison, followed by 25 years of supervised release. Jones pleaded guilty to Concealment of Funds Intended to Support Acts of Terrorism.
As early as 2019, Jones regularly posted anti-American content on social media platforms because she believed the United States military unjustly treated Muslims overseas. In 2020, Jones began communicating online with a person she believed to be a member of al Qaeda, but who was in fact working for the FBI. On May 10, 2020, when asked by this individual if she supported al Qaeda and their struggle against the kuffar (non-believers), Jones responded, “Yes, I do.” Jones communicated with this individual about traveling to Afghanistan to support al Qaeda because “supporting AQ against the oppressors would be an honour.”
On May 18, 2020, when asked whether she could spare any money to buy weapons for al Qaeda to kill American soldiers, Jones responded that, while she was not well-off financially, the U.S. government’s COVID stimulus checks presented an opportunity: “The timing is interesting. Since because of coronavirus we all got government money. Free money basically. … [I]t would be most ironic the money from that goes for this . . . They give us free money, and I turn it around on them.”
Jones agreed to send money, via a prepaid credit card. After researching prepaid cards online, Jones determined that an online purchase could be traced back to her because it required the disclosure of personal information. In order to conceal the source, ownership, and control of her funds, Jones traveled to a national retail store and purchased a $500 prepaid credit card using the COVID stimulus money provided to her by the U.S. government. She then sent the card information to the purported al Qaeda member with the message, “may it help them to be victorious.” Jones intended for these funds to be used by al Qaeda to purchase rifle scopes for use against American soldiers in Afghanistan.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Chang, David Pimsner, and Lisa Jennis, District of Arizona, Phoenix handled the prosecution.