In a blow to the cryptosphere, a naturalized US citizen has pleaded guilty to helping the terror group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] by using Bitcoin [BTC] and other cryptocurrencies.
Zoobia Shahnaz, a Long Island resident, admitted to laundering and wiring more than $150,000 in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to shell companies and individuals that were fronts for ISIS in 2017. Shahnaz has been in custody since her arrest last December and faces up to 20 years in prison.
Shanaz, who was a lab technician in Manhattan, was said to have volunteered in January 2016 with the Syrian American Medical Society in Jordon. The prosecutors wrote in a filling that she had conducted extensive research on traveling to Syria and joining the ISIS or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham even before volunteering in Jordan.
The prosecutors wrote in a filling that stated:
“For two weeks, she assisted in providing medical aid to Syrian refugees in Amman [Jordan] and in the Zaatari Refugee camp, where ISIS exercises significant influence.”
According to CNBC, Shahnaz took a loan of $22,500 from a bank in Manhattan and planned and successfully engaged in scamming several banks such as Chase Bank, TD Bank, and the American Express by obtaining six credit cards.
She used the six credit cards obtained by defrauding the banks, along with 10 more cards which she already possessed, to purchase cryptocurrencies worth $62,703. The report also stated that most of the cryptocurrencies she purchased were liquidated to the US dollars and then transferred into a checking account.
Shahnaz was intercepted at the JFK airport by law enforcement agents on July 31, 2017, when she tried to flee the country after making her family believe that she was heading to work.
Shahnaz’s lawyer defended her saying that she was trying to help out the Syrian refugees with her payments, but the federal grand jury prosecuted her for the crimes of helping out a foreign terrorist organization and for defrauding the banks. She is currently being detained without bail and faces up to 20 years in prison.
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