Sabirhan Hasanoff, an accountant who pleaded guilty to surveilling the New York Stock Exchange for al-Qaida and providing a remote-control device to the group, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in federal court in Manhattan on Monday.
Hasanoff, 37, of Brooklyn, who worked as the chief financial officer for a company in Dubai, was arrested in 2010, and pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and providing material support to al-Qaida. He faced a maximum of 20 years in prison.
He told U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood that he regretted his behavior, which included sending money to al-Qaida and trying to sign up to fight jihad. He said in a letter to the judge that he had been drawn to it due to his concern for the plight of Muslims.
"I'm very sorry for my conduct," he said. "I should have known better and I don't have any excuses."
Wood said she would give Hasanoff a slight break because a prison chaplain had described him as a "role model" for other Muslim prisoners, he had been a strong family man before flirting with extremism, and he had regained the trust of friends and family.
But, she said, "None of that deterred him from wanting to leave his family and die fighting jihad against his fellow Americans . . . is no way for me to know if he has changed."
Wood is scheduled to sentence Hasanoff's co-defendant, Wesam el-Hanafi, 38 and also from Brooklyn, in November.