A Vienna, Virginia resident pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and tax fraud. For more than ten years she participated in a conspiracy to purchase electronics equipment using money from an unindicted co-conspirator in Lebanon.
Racha Farhat purchased electronics equipment in the U.S. and then shipped the items to co-conspirators primarily in Lebanon. The Lebanese co-conspirators supplied at least $175,000 worth of goods to the Al Manar TV station that is owned and operated by Hizballah. Both Hizballah and Al Manar TV are prohibited entities for a U.S. person to conduct business with under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Farhat and her husband, Hussam Hawi, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the IRS in the collection of income taxes by concealing Farhat’s employment. She declared that she was a “stay home mom” and failed to declare any of the wages she earned for tax years 2015–2019. As a result of these false statements, Farhat and Hawi received a refund each year and currently owe more than $64,000 to the IRS. Sentencing is scheduled for later, but Farhat could face 25 years in prison and Hawi could face five years in prison.