An Attempt To Fund ISIS With Bitcoin Ends With Jail Time

Maja Mazur
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Zoobia Shahnaz, an American citizen, was arrested last year for trying to transfer a significant amount of money to a terrorist group. Earlier, she’s withdrawn it from a cryptocurrency exchange, where she made some transactions. Now, she’s facing a sentence of two decades.

Bad reputation

Cryptocurrencies have been connected to the criminal world from the very beginning, often unjustifiably. Fortunately, big crypto-related scams only happen once in a while but they still undermine the good reputation of cryptocurrency community as a whole. This time, Zoobia Shahnaz, an American woman, was trying to fund ISIS group with money obtained through a cryptocurrency exchange. Later, she was planning on joining the terrorists as well.

The facts

The woman has pleaded guilty, according to the New York Department of Justice’s official press release. She admitted she had been providing material support to a Islamic terrorist organisation between May and July 2017. Later she made an attempt to travel to the Middle East but she was obstructed at the JFK Airport before her flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

Her actions involved loaning approximately 22,500 USD and charging multiple credit cards. She used those funds to purchase over 60,000 USD worth in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Then, she began a pattern of criminal financial activities which later lead to several wire transactions to terrorist entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey. In the meantime she was gradually engaging in ISIS community online, through jihad-related websites, messages and social media channels.

The plea agreement

Shahnaz began to cooperate with the government and admitted to all of her actions. She also confirmed her plans of leaving the United States to join ISIS. According to law, she faces up to 20 years in prison (that’s the statutory sentence for such crimes, established by the Congress), as well as restitution, criminal forfeiture and a financial fine. Now her fate lies in the hands of the cour

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