NYC accountant sentenced to 18 years in prison for assisting in Qaeda plot

A successful New York City accountant has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for aiding al Qaeda and conducting surveillance of the New York Stock Exchange as a potential terrorism target in 2008.

Sabirhan Hasanoff was sentenced Monday to two years less than the federal maximum he faced for aiding the terrorism network.

Prosecutors also said he sought to travel overseas to receive military training to fight Americans.

Hasanoff, 37, pleaded guilty in June 2012 and has apologized for providing financial support to al Qaeda from 2007 to 2010.

His lawyer, Joshua Dratel, told the court that his client was "psychologically lured" into extremism and was "guilt-tripped" into his crimes.

Hasanoff, a dual US and Australian citizen, graduated from Baruch College in Manhattan and worked at accounting firms KPMG PricewaterhouseCoopers.

American intelligence officials said in June that Hasanoff's arrest was indirectly the result of the US National Security Agency's monitoring of a "known extremist in Yemen.

US District Judge Kimba Wood said Monday that Hasanoff appeared to be "a charitable, loving, good family man" before he became radicalized.

"None of that, however, deterred him from planning to leave his family and die fighting jihad against Americans," Wood said.

Hasanoff wrote in a letter filed to the court in June that he had been trying to connect with his Muslim faith in 2007 "and reconcile that faith with what I saw as atrocities committed against Muslims around the world."

New York-born Wesam El-Hanafi, who was arrested along with Hasanoff in April 2010, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 18, after also pleading guilty last year.