RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico woman pleaded guilty in Richmond federal court on Monday to charges of lying to federal investigators about supporting the Islamic State militant group.
Heather Coffman put a contact in touch with ISIS fighters then lied to the FBI about her acts, according to prosecutors. The person then traveled to Turkey to join ISIS, according to U.S. Attorneys.
Her guilty plea to a single count of providing a false statement about international terrorism could send her to prison for up to eight years and force her to pay a fine of up to $250,000. Coffman will remain in Pamunkey Regional Jail until her May 11 sentencing.
Authorities analyzed five Facebook accounts they believe belong to the 29-year-old during the seven month investigation. Agents say the accounts showed support for ISIS. On one of the accounts, "Ubeida Ametova" lists her work and education as "jihad for Allah's sake." An affidavit describes pictures of ISIS militants holding AK-47s. Coffman allegedly writes "I love ISIS" in one post.
The records go on to describe how an undercover FBI agent met with Coffman several times. Investigators say Coffman admitted to offering to pay for a man she claimed was her husband to join the ISIS group. The documents say Coffman said she wanted him to quote "die as a martyr." FBI agents claim she even offered up her ISIS contacts so the undercover agent could join the group. Ultimately, investigators questioned Coffman at her workplace in Glen Allen. She denied supporting the terrorist group, or having contact with anyone who is.The records state that Coffman replied, "Not that I'm aware of."
Neighbors recalled seeing FBI agents in unmarked vehicles prior to her arrest. Court documents detail conversations about travel to Syria, but Coffman's attorney told the Washington Post as far as he knows she hasn't traveled anywhere, saying, According to the documents, when asked if she supported ISIS, Coffman responded, "We don't talk about things like that."
Coffman's parents appeared in the courtroom, but refused comment outside.