US: Emanuel L. Lutchman, 25, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization.  The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. of the Western District of New York and Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen of the Federal Investigation Bureau’s (FBI) Buffalo Division.

“According to the complaint, as part of Emanuel Lutchman’s attempt to provide material support to ISIL, he planned to kill innocent civilians on New Year’s Eve in the name of the terrorist organization.” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Thankfully, law enforcement was able to intervene and thwart Lutchman’s deadly plans.”

“This New Year’s Eve prosecution underscores the threat of ISIL even in upstate New York but demonstrates our determination to immediately stop any who would cause harm in its name,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul.  “What began as an ISIL directive to harm the community ended with the arrest of this defendant and a message for any other individuals considering similar behavior – you will be caught, you will be prosecuted, and you will be punished.  While law enforcement is well equipped for such investigations, the public is reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.  I assure members of the public that the excellent work of our law enforcement partners with the cooperation of the public is the best way to ensure the safety of our community.”

“The FBI thwarted Emanuel Lutchman’s intent to kill civilians on New Year’s Eve,” said Special Agent in Charge Cohen.  “The FBI remains concerned about people overseas who use the Internet to inspire people in the United States to commit acts of violence where they live.”

According to court records, the defendant, claiming to receive direction from an overseas ISIL member, planned to commit an armed attack against civilians at a restaurant/bar located in the Rochester, New York, area today, New Year’s Eve on behalf of ISIL and in furtherance of his plan to join ISIL overseas.

The defendant made an initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson of the U.S. Western District of New York.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey with the assistance of Trial Attorney Lawrence Schneider of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.