CO: ISIS-Like Group Used Work Comp Claims to Fund Activities, Report Shows

12.06.2017


By Liz Carey

Buena Vista, CO (WorkersCompensation.com) – In the 1990s, an Arabic group, similar to ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) or Al-Qaeda, lived in a secluded camp in the Colorado mountains, and used workers’ compensation claims as a way to fund their activities, KRDO in Colorado reported recently. 

Known as “ul Fuqra,” the group lived in a 101-acre campground in Chaffey County, CO, without electricity or running water, where they learned the “ways of Jihad” from Pakistani Muslim leader Sheikh Mubarak Al Gilani, the report said. They bought land, weapons and supplies, according to the report, by filing fake workers’ compensation claims.

For years, the group filed workers’ compensation claims for businesses, some of which didn’t even exist, officials said. Group members had multiple names that they used to file the claims, according to Susan Fenger, chief criminal investigator with the Department of Labor and Employment. Officials were able to tie the claims together by looking at the suspects’ handwriting samples.

“It appeared to be the same person using different identities,” Fenger told KRDO.  “They claimed leg injuries, but their injuries were obtained while they were training at the camp.”

Through the scam, the group was able to bilk the state of more than $355,000 over the course of several years, authorities said.

And they used the money to buy AK-47s, bomb-making material, M-16s and other weapons, that they hid in an abandoned mineshaft near their camp, as well as in storage units in Buena Vista, CO.

Ultimately, the report said, the group was discovered when detectives with the Colorado Springs Police Department found bomb-making material and handguns, along with writings on Jihad and holy war that were found in a storage locker, retired Lt. William Lidh told KRDO.

The investigation into the group linked them to terrorist activity across the country, including:

Several of the residents of the camp were arrested and have since served their jail terms, the report said. However, the whereabouts of many of the operatives within the camp are unknown.

Calls and emails for comment to Bill Thoennes, the public information officer for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, were not immediately returned by press time.


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