Ahmad Jebril, a Dearborn, Michigan-based Islamic cleric popular with Islamic State (IS) fighters, owes a quarter of a million dollars in restitution and other costs stemming from fraud convictions.
Jebril is on probation after serving 6½ years in prison. After being released in 2012, he has used social media to become what experts say is the most popular religious leader for Islamists from the West fighting for ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State.
Federal authorities in Detroit are trying to collect more than $250,000 in restitution from Jebril and more than $3,600 in special assessments for 42 counts of fraud. So far, Jebril has paid only $2,790, according to a motion filed Aug. 11 by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit.
Jebril and his father were convicted in 2005 of 42 counts of fraud of almost $400,000 that included mail fraud, bank fraud, failure to pay income tax and money laundering.
The two deliberately defaced rental properties in order to collect insurance money. They also were convicted of trying to bribe a juror in their trial by offering to pay for her wedding if she helped acquit them.
Meanwhile, supporters of Jebril and ISIS are rallying online to the defense of the Dearborn cleric, saying the government is unfairly cracking down on him.
In recent weeks, followers have tweeted support for Jebril, claiming he is being silenced, but the government has not banned him from speaking out or posting online. Jebril’s popular Twitter (26,000-plus followers) and Facebook (219,000-plus likes) accounts have not posted anything since July 9.