Terrorism Victims to Receive Proceeds from Seized Home Sale

by Chris Wangler

September 15, 2022

Remember the Pigeon Hill house that served as headquarters for an illegal export business that was linked to a company that made bombs used against U.S. troops?

The U.S. government seized 10 Juniper Hill Road last summer and sold it in late February for nearly a million dollars. 

Now, some of the civil forfeiture proceeds will be used to aid U.S. victims of state sponsored terrorism, according to a release Tuesday from U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins.

“Homeland Security Investigations sold the Waltham home for a net recovery of over $856,000 and applied to have seventy-five percent of the net proceeds, or approximately $642,702, be used to pay eligible victims of state sponsored terrorism,” Rollins said.

Illegal Export Business

The 3 bed / 3.5 bath home, located in one of Waltham’s wealthiest neighborhoods, was purchased in 2012 by Anni Ajaka (aka Anni Beurklian) and her husband Antoine “Tony” Ajaka.

She is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Lebanon and he is a lawful permanent resident from Lebanon, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). 

Authorities said between 2014 and 2018 the couple used the Waltham home to illegally export various tech components to customers in Lebanon, Egypt and China via their company, Top Tech US Inc.

One of Top Tech’s customers was  Electronic Katranji Trading (EKT), a Lebanon-based company that developed IEDs used against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Justice officials said EKT, whose U.S.-based website was seized by ICE–Homeland Security, was also involved in the development of chemical weapons used by the Syrian government.

Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators 

In early 2018, the Ajakas and the head of EKT were indicted on multiple federal charges including smuggling, falsifying records, obstruction of justice and illegally providing services to persons located in Syria.

“These defendants were key players in a sophisticated scheme to illegally export electronics, computer equipment and electrical switches to enhance Syria’s capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.

During plea negotiations, Anni and Tony Ajaka fled the country.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has designated EKT, its head and the Ajakas as Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators. 

With the Ajakas on the run, the federal government moved to seize their overgrown Waltham home in 2020. U.S. law empowers the government to seize or forfeit assets that are used to illegally export merchandise from the country.

The fugitive couple filed a motion to maintain home ownership in federal court, but a federal judge rejected it in 2021, according to U.S. Attorney Rollins.

After civil forfeiture, Homeland Security Investigations sold 10 Juniper Hill Road in February 2022 for $975,000. 

Compensation for Terrorism Victims

This week, U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins announced more than $642,000 from the home sale proceeds would go to terrorism victims.

The United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund provides compensation to Americans injured in acts of international state sponsored terrorism. 

Since 2015, thousands of victims connected to the Iran hostage crisis, embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the U.S.S. Cole attack and 9/11 have received billions in compensation, according to government documents. 

Meanwhile, 10 Juniper Hill Road has been extensively renovated. When it was auctioned after the civil forfeiture action, there was water damage and mold throughout the first floor.

Unlock Real Estate, a Waltham-based agency, plans to list the house in the coming months.