Cryptocurrency for Terror: US Woman Accused of Using Bitcoin to Fund Daesh

Cryptocurrency for Terror: US Woman Accused of Using Bitcoin to Fund Daesh

Cryptocurrency for Terror: US Woman Accused of Using Bitcoin to Fund Daesh

The woman was arrested on charges of money laundering to support a foreign terrorist organization and bank fraud, prosecutors announced yesterday Thursday. Shahnaz, a USA citizen and onetime Manhattan hospital lab technician with no criminal past, was awaiting arraignment Thursday in federal Court on Long Island.

Central Islip - A Long Island woman is accused of laundering bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and wiring the money overseas to help ISIS, according to federal prosecutors.

Shahnaz, between the months of June and July, allegedly used 16 credit cards that were fraudulently obtained to purchase almost $63,000 in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. "These transactions were created to avoid transaction reporting requirements, hide the identity, source and destination of the illicitly obtained monies, and, ultimately, benefit ISIS".

After conducting the transactions, the suspect sought to travel to Syria herself.

She was stopped by the law enforcement authorities at John F. Kennedy Airport and interviewed about her travel and bank transactions, prosecutors said. Upon inspection her electronic devices were found to contain searches for Isis material.

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Though the indictment unsealed today makes no mention of the involvement of bitcoin directly, the office said in a press release that the funds she sent overseas - totaling more than $150,000 - were sourced in part from credit cards for which she fraudulently applied. But her itinerary also included a multi-day layover in Istanbul, Turkey - which is a common point of entry for people travelling from Western countries to join ISIS in Syria, the DoJ said.

Shahnaz allegedly meant to "put thousands of dollars into the coffers of terrorists", Acting U.S. Attorney for the Easter District of New York Bridget Rohde said in a statement.

Rohde credited the FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, as well as the Suffolk County Police Department, for keeping Shahnaz "from her risky and potentially deadly goal".

If convicted, she faces decades in prison. "We will do all we can to stop the next person hoping to do the same".

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