An American man who used eBay and PayPal to receive payments from ISIS for a potential terror attack has pleaded guilty to terrorism offenses, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Mohamed Elshinawy, 32, pleaded guilty to three counts in Baltimore federal court, which included attempting to provide material support to ISIS, making false statements, and obstruction,
according to the Justice Department.
Eslhinawy received a total of $US8,700 from individuals associated with ISIS, some of which came through PayPal, after he pretended to sell them computer printers on eBay, according to a 2016 indictment.
He faces up to 20 years in prison for each count, according to the Journal.
In a statement, eBay said Elshinaway was not on a watch list, and his sale of two printers on the site did not appear suspicious at the time.
“When law enforcement notified us that it was investigating this individual for suspected illegal activity, we partnered closely with them to bring this person to justice,” the statement said. “We have zero tolerance for criminal activity on eBay and have robust systems in place to identify and prevent it.”
Elshinawy told investigators he was to use the money for “operational purposes” such as a terror attack. Some of the cash was spent on a laptop, a mobile phone, and software to set up a virtual private network that can mask a user’s internet usage, which the FBI believed was so he could communicate with ISIS operatives overseas, the Journal reported.
The case highlighted the difficulties in tracking the finances of terror groups, which have taken to using alternatives to banks. ISIS has raised money through crowdfunding websites, social media fundraisers, and prepaid cards, according to a 2015 report from an international task force that investigates and combats money laundering and terror financing.
PayPal and eBay both told the Journal they worked with law enforcement on the case.
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