U.S. woman charged with using Bitcoin to finance IS

Marcus Newton
December 16, 2017

With that, she bought US$62,000 worth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which can offer owners anonymity in transfers and payments.

A five-count-indictment charges Shahnaz with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three substantive counts of money laundering, according to a US Department of Justice statement.

While she was transferring money to the terrorist group overseas, authorities claimed, Shahnaz had "accessed ISIS propaganda, violent jihad-related websites and message boards, and social media and messaging pages of known ISIS recruiters, facilitators and financiers".

According to charges, Zubia Shahnaz, allegedly used 16 credit cards fraudulently obtained for the purchase of almost $ 63,000 in crypto money and she was involved in laundering money for people in Pakistan, China and Turkey. She has also traveled to Syria.

Her lawyer says she was sending money to help Syrian refugees. "Her humanitarian efforts then and since were motivated by her commitment to helping alleviate the plight of the people in the Middle East". Shahnaz also had intentions to "travel to Syria and join ISIS", the DOJ press release said.

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Prosecutors say she took out fraudulent loans of $85,000 (£63,000) in order to buy the bitcoin online. She then engaged in a pattern of financial activity, culminating in several wire transactions, totaling over $150,000, to individuals and apparent shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey.

Thee scheme was devised to "avoid transaction reporting requirements, hide the identity, source and destination of the illicitly obtained monies, and, ultimately, benefit ISIS", according to the Justice Department.

She was arrested with $9,500 in cash at New York's John F. Kennedy airport.

In July, she allegedly procured a Pakistani passport and booked a flight to Pakistan via a layover in Turkey and planned on going to Syria, according to prosecutors.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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