LOS ANGELES – A woman was indicted Wednesday on charges she sent money to Pakistan to help fund terrorist attacks against U.S. military personnel, authorities said.
Oytun Ayse Mihalik, 39, faces three counts of providing material support to terrorists and one count of making a false statement. If convicted of all counts, Mihalik could face up to 53 years in prison.
Mihalik funneled about $2,000 to a person in Pakistan over a three-week period beginning late last year, knowing the money would be used to prepare for and carry out attacks against the U.S. military and others overseas, federal prosecutors said.
An email message left with her attorney, Alan Eisner, was not immediately returned.
Mihalik, who worked as a pharmacist, has been in federal custody since she was arrested in August after she attempted to board a flight to Turkey, her native country.
She previously pleaded not guilty to the false statement charge.
Mihalik lied to federal agents during an interview at Los Angeles International Airport following a six-month trip to Turkey by telling them she never used an alias to wire money overseas and she had only sent funds once, authorities said.
She told investigators the money was meant for a family friend who was having financial problems, according to an affidavit.
Authorities wouldn't elaborate on why they believe the money Mihalik wired overseas was going to be used for terrorist attacks.
However, court documents reveal Mihalik's arrest is "related to national security investigations in other areas of the United States." As of August, Mihalik had been cooperating with investigators, records show.
"The charges are based on the defendant's intent to cause harm to U.S. military personnel," said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. "We have not alleged any attacks that may have resulted from the funding because the legal issue is the defendant's intent as to what the money would be used for."
A trial on the false statement charge was set for February. Mihalik will be arraigned on the new charges at a later date.