Courts & Crime

Police: Kentucky woman unwittingly funded terrorist group

A Winchester woman is behind bars on a charge related to her unknowingly funding an overseas terrorist organization, police said.

Betty Stidham, 54, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one felony count of unauthorized use of a credit card, said Winchester Police Detective Danny Thomas.

Stidham used stolen credit card numbers given to her by a Nigerian man to buy thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, Thomas said. Stidham then shipped the merchandise — including clothes, shoes and electronics — to the man, whom authorities believe is affiliated with a terrorist group.

"I'm quite confident she did not know there was terrorism involved," Thomas said. The individual balances on the stolen credit card accounts ranged in the neighborhood of $30,000 to $40,000, he said.

Cases similar to Stidham's "apparently are going on all over the United States," Thomas said.

Unauthorized use of a credit card is a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison.

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