Terrorist Organizations Getting in on the PPE Scams
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
The tens of billions of dollars governments, corporations, and individuals have spent acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has brought the scam artists out in force.
Among them, according to the Justice Department, is a name many haven’t heard in a while: the terror group ISIS:
In a series of civil and criminal complaints and forfeiture notices released this week, the Justice Department has revealed that it seized hundreds of bitcoin and ethereum accounts, millions of dollars, and four websites from known Islamic extremist groups that were using those accounts and funds to support terrorist operations. Prosecutors say the forfeited crypto assets from the groups, which include ISIS, the al-Qassam Brigades, and al Qaeda, represent “the government’s largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency in the terrorism context.” The cryptocurrency haul alone totals more than $1 million according to Chainalysis, a blockchain-focused firm whose tools were used in the investigation.
ISIS is alleged to have run a fraudulent web site called FaceMaskCenter.com, purporting to sell high grade protective equipment that was otherwise difficult to source, in any quantity, on the open market. According to court documents, the site was created this year, and registered in Turkey. Calls to the contact numbers are answered by Syrians living in Turkey.
The website currently displays a seizure notice on its homepage.
Image Credit: Banej / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)