DOJ Alleges Bitcoin Involved in Attempted ISIS Funding


Shahnaz took out more than a dozen credit cards earlier this year and used the money she borrowed to by cryptocurrency and send it overseas, according to an indictment filed by USA attorneys in federal court. Prosecutors believe Shanaz used methods created to avoid transaction reporting requirements and hide the identity, source and destination of the illicitly-obtained money. She allegedly converted money from credit cards into cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and transferred it overseas in support of ISIS.

According to a five-count indictment, unsealed Thursday (14 December), prosecutors said the suspect, USA citizen Zoobia Shahnaz, was caught attempting to leave the country. "Persons engaged in illicit activity such as money laundering and terrorist financing may use cryptocurrencies to avoid detection by law enforcement or intelligence services".

Various news reports describe Shahnaz as a US citizen with no criminal record who was born in Pakistan.

On Thursday, a Long Island woman was charged with laundering in excess of $85,000 using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to help finance ISIS.

Federal prosecutors in New York's Suffolk County claimed in court papers that Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, used fraudulent credit cards and loans to accumulate $85,000, which she attempted to transfer to the radical group Islamic State before attempting to go to Syria to join it.

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Shahnaz quit her job in June and attempted to travel to Syria at the end of July.

Her lawyer, Steve Zissou, said she was sending money overseas to help Syrian refugees. Shen spent two weeks with the Syrian American Medical Society in Jordan back in 2016, working part of that time in the Zataari refugee camp, which is known for a heavy ISIS influence.

The Department of Justice said on Thursday that the 27-year-old woman, Zoobia Shahnaz, is being charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and three counts of money laundering, ABC News reported. After the transactions were sent, according to the statement, Shahnaz was questioned by law enforcement while attempting to travel to Syria from NY.

"What she saw made her devoted to lessening the suffering of a lot of the Syrian refugees and everything she does is for that goal", said Zissou outside the courthouse. Federal agents intercepted her at a JFK gate ahead of a July flight to Islamabad with a layover in Turkey.

She is standing trial in NY and faces 90 years in prison if convicted. She was arrested Wednesday.