Terror financing: US woman defrauded banks, admits to laundering, bitcoin scheme
27 Nov 2018

A 27-year-old woman is facing up to 20 years in jail over defrauding a number of financial institutions, and then laundering and transferring the proceeds to support blacklisted terror group the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Authorities allege that American resident Zoobia Shahnaz engaged in a bank fraud scheme to raise money for ISIS, obtaining a loan for approximately $22,500 through materially false representations.

In the process, she is understood to have used over a dozen fraudulently obtained credit cards to purchase approximately $62,000 in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies online.

Shahnaz then wired over $150,000 to individuals and shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey that were fronts for ISIS.

In addition, she “accessed ISIS propaganda at various violent jihad-related websites and message boards, and social media and messaging pages of known ISIS recruiters, facilitators and financiers,” a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York said.

“She also searched the internet for information to facilitate her travel into Syria, but ultimately was intercepted by the JTTF at John F. Kennedy International Airport.”

Shahnaz, who pleaded guilty, faces a 20-year jail term as well as restitution, criminal forfeiture and a fine.

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