Two Sydney men have been jailed for their involvement in a $17 million money-laundering operation they helped run alongside a terrorist sympathiser.
Ahmad Ali and Fouad Moussa, both 28, were sentenced in the NSW District Court after pleading guilty to the "unsophisticated" scheme which lasted six months before they were arrested in 2017.
In each case, the deposit was smaller than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws, and placed into one of five bank accounts.
Moussa was on Friday sentenced to three years and sevens months in prison, with a non-parole period of one year and nine months, meaning he will be eligible for release in December 2021.
Ali was jailed for three years and four months but will be eligible for parole after one year and six months.
They were sentenced alongside a western Sydney single mother who was sentenced to two years' j but allowed to go free on an intensive correction order because authorities could not find a carer for her son.
The woman made 325 deposits totalling more than $1.5 million while Ali and Moussa made deposits worth $664,000 and $379,000 respectively.
During a covert raid of the woman's Bankstown apartment in October 2017, police discovered $1.2 million inside a locked room as well as a money-counting machine.
Ali and Moussa's DNA and fingerprints were found on cigarette butts and bank deposit slips found on the premises.
When the woman returned home, a police listening device captured her walking around the apartment saying to herself "we got robbed, we got robbed" before she contacted Moussa who told her not to call the police.
While the woman rented the apartment and lived there alongside her son, Judge Dina Yehia accepted that she did not have access to the locked room and was not involved in the counting or preparation of the cash.
The court also heard that she raised her son after escaping an abusive marriage and that the father had no interest in raising their child.
As well, her family was unable to provide care for him.
Judge Yehia said that "no suitable placement has been found for the offender's child among family or friends" and sentenced her to serve her punishment in the community so she could care for him.
"She came into this enterprise following a history of abuse, deprivation, isolation and poverty," Judge Yehia said.
"I accept that she was struggling financially and was introduced to the operation, initially not appreciating that it was an illegal enterprise."
Police also found $234,000 in cash in a safe, as well as luxury watches and handbags, during a raid of Ali's residence.
In all, the group admitted laundering over $17 million between April and October 2017.
They were charged alongside co-offenders Belal Betka, Ahmad Hawchar, and Zouheir Ghazaoui who were all jailed in 2019 for their involvement in the operation.
Betka was earlier this year also jailed for at least two years and nine months after he pleaded guilty to engaging in hostile activity in a foreign country.
He admitted travelling to Syria to join Islamic State but argued he did so for humanitarian reasons and left when he was told he would have to fight.
After the deposits were made Hawchar, Betka and Ghazaoui would attend Ali's Bankstown barbershop and hand over receipts to either Ali or Moussa.
Judge Yehia said that while all three must have suspected the money was obtained illegally, they didn't know the exact source, and where the money was being directed to.
Australian Associated Press