How US woman funded ISIS with Bitcoin

A man with an ISIS flag

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 United States attorneys in federal court.

It added: "These transactions were created to avoid transaction reporting requirements, hide the identity, source and destination of the illicitly obtained monies, and, ultimately, benefit ISIS". She allegedly converted money from credit cards into cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and transferred it overseas in support of ISIS.

Before her attempts to join ISIS, Zoobia Shahnaz earned a good living as a hospital lab technician, making nearly $70,000 a year. "Persons engaged in illicit activity such as money laundering and terrorist financing may use cryptocurrencies to avoid detection by law enforcement or intelligence services".

Ms Shahnaz was born in Pakistan and worked as a lab technician in the US.

Shahnaz is accused of fraudulently obtaining six credit cards and a loan from a Manhattan bank to procure more than $85,000 which prosecutors allege she then converted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and laundered the money through overseas transfers, all with an intent to financially support ISIS.

Numerous searches showed up on her electronic devices for Islamic State-related material.

Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, faces charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and is being held without bail. In January 2016, she traveled to Jordan to volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society. The government says Shahnaz was detained on July 31 at John F. Kennedy airport as she was headed to Pakistan by way of Istanbul, from where they believe she meant to enter Syria and join ISIS.

DOJ added they found "after conducting these financial transactions, the defendant sought to travel to Syria herself" continuing that Shahnaz constructed an itinerary to Pakistan with a multi-day layover in Turkey. "The defendant's return ticket had been booked for September 4, 2017 on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to JFK".

Federal agents stopped the woman and took her into questioning where she "provided false and conflicting explanations" about her wire transfers, officials said. It's safe to say that her motivation, as expressed by her lawyer, should be called into question. Authorities have searched her internet history, finding Google searches for "top female jihadis", "how much money can I send through Western Union", and "hijrah (holy migration)".

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