New York Woman Pleads Guilty to Funding ISIS with Bitcoin

Michael LaVere
  • A New York woman has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to funding ISIS.
  • Zoobia Shahnaz used bitcoin and cryptocurrency to supply ISIS with more than $150,000 in funding. 

A New York woman has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to providing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) with funding via bitcoin. 

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice on Mar. 13, Long Island woman Zoobia Shahnaz defrauded multiple banks in order to launder money and provide material support for ISIS between March 2017 and July 2017.

Shahnaz was able to obtain a bank loan for roughly $22,500 in addition to more than a dozen credit cards. She then used the funds to purchase $62,000 in bitcoin and other cryptoassets online before making multiple wire transfers to individuals in Pakistan, China and Turkey serving as fronts for ISIS. 

Shahnaz reportedly accessed violent, jihad-related websites and message boards that were tied to recruiters and financiers with ISIS. She also performed “numerous” internet searches for information that would allow her entry into Syria. A court-authorized search warrant for Shahnaz’s Long Island residence led authorities to uncover jihad-related propaganda, a photo of suicide belt explosives and a night vision scope.

The report claims Shahnaz supplied the terrorist group with more than $150,000 in funding over the course of five months. 

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