FBI investigators discovered an underground network run by the Islamic State (ISIS) that funneled money into the United States using fake eBay transactions, according to a recently unsealed affidavit.
The FBI in 2016 alleged that Maryland-based Mohamed Elshinawy pretended to sell computer printers on eBay as a cover to receive payments through PayPal to potentially fund domestic terrorist attacks, according to the Wall Street Journal which first reported on the affidavit.
The network which connected ISIS devotees to plan and fund terrorism attacks extended from the United Kingdom to Bangladesh. It used to be operated by an ISIS senior official, Siful Sujan, who died in an air strike in Syria in 2015.
Elshinawy, who pledged his allegiance to the ISIS, was arrested in December 2015 by the FBI authorities. He received $8,700 from five individuals associated with Islamic State, including five PayPal payments from Sujan’s company.
PayPal released a statement to the Journal, saying it “invests significant time and resources in working to prevent terrorist activity on our platform.”
“We proactively report suspicious activities and respond quickly to lawful requests to support law enforcement agencies in their investigations.”
Elshinawy used the money for a laptop, a cellphone and a VPN communications network to communicate with ISIS, according to the affidavit.
Photo: The sign at eBay headquarters in San Jose, Calif. is photographed on Friday, April 19, 2013. The company has transformed itself from an online auction site into one of the most highly sought after technological partners for small and large retailers. (Gary Reyes/ Bay Area News Group)