- 27-year-old Pakistani-U.S. citizen has pleaded guilty to aiding terrorism through bitcoin and other digital assets
- Shahnaz admitted to defrauding several financial institutions and transferring the funds to ISIS Islamic terrorist group
- Authorities say Shahnaz may face up to 20 years in jail plus fines and other penalties
Zoobia Shahnaz, a 27-year-old Pakistani-U.S. woman living in Long Island, has reportedly pleaded guilty to financing an international terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-sham (ISIS), with digital assets, carrying out money laundering operations and conspiracy, reported The Wall Street Journal on November 28.
Another Bitcoin Bad Actor Goes Down
Per sources close to the matter, Zoobia Shahnaz, a Brentwood, Long Island resident, and former Manhattan hospital laboratory technician have pleaded guilty to assisting and providing material support in the form of bitcoin and other digital assets to ISIS, a deadly Islamic terrorist organization.
According to prosecutors, between March 2017 and July 31, 2017, when she was arrested by the JTTF at the John F. Kennedy airport trying to flee to Syria, Zoobia Shahnaz defrauded several financial institutions including Chase Bank, TD Bank, American Express and others, in a bid to raise funds for ISIS.
The defendant allegedly fraudulently obtained 16 credit cards to purchase about $63,000 worth of bitcoin and other blockchain-based virtual currencies.
In June 2017, Zoobia Shahnaz took a $22,500 loan from a local Manhattan financial institution which she, in turn, transferred to suspected ISIS representatives in China, Pakistan, and Turkey.
Over $150,000 Sent to Terrorists
In total, it is alleged that the culprit wired more than $150,000 to terrorists and accessed a significant number of ISIS-related websites, social media handles, jihad-linked sites as well as messaging pages of notorious ISIS recruiters, facilitators, and financiers.
“With today’s guilty plea, Shahnaz admitted to engaging in a complex scheme using cryptoassets designed to put thousands of dollars into the coffers of ISIS, a terrorist organization dedicated to murder and destruction,” declared United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard P. Donoghue.
Donoghue further noted that counterterrorism remains a top priority for the Department of Justice and it will continue to partner with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to hunt down rogue actors like Zoobia Shahnaz.
When sentenced, Shahnaz faces up to 20 years behind bars, plus restitution, criminal forfeiture, and a hefty fine.