A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Report Examines Financial Crime and Material Support Schemes


Report Examines Financial Crime and Material Support Schemes

150 events linked to AQAM between 1990 and 2014

January 28, 2015Beth Schwartz

A November 2014 START report, “Financial Crime and Material Support Schemes Linked to ​al-Qa’ida and Affiliated Movements (AQAM) in the United States: 1990 to June 2014,” found 98 material support schemes and 52 financial schemes linked to AQAM in that time period.

The report, authored by Brandon A. Sullivan, Joshua D. Freilich and Steven M. Chermak, defines financial schemes as illicit financial operations involving activities carried out by perpetrator(s) to obtain unlawful gain or economic advantage through deliberate deception. Material support schemes are defined as acts taken to aid terrorist activities and groups, such as providing resources, supplies, equipment, training personnel or other critical non-monetary support.

More than 95% of material and monetary support schemes linked to AQAM were motivated by ideology. However, only 50% of perpetrators involved in such schemes had a direct association with AQAM, while 33% were sympathizers or supporters with indirect connections, and 17% were non-extremist collaborators motivated by non-ideological goals, such as profit.

The fluid nature of association between perpetrators involved in these schemes highlights the importance of examining broader networks of AQAM extremists and their associates.

  • Click here to read the full report.
  • Click here for an abbreviated highlight.