NY woman laundered bitcoin to aide ISIS

World       by Haider Ali Sindhu | Published

World by Haider Ali Sindhu | Published

Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, was indicted Thursday after she allegedly laundered more than $85,000 through Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies overseas to the Islamic State.

If convicted, Shahnaz, who was not granted bail, faces a maximum of 30 years in United States prison for the bank fraud charge and 20 years in prison on each money laundering count.

A Long Island woman has been charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars to send to Islamic State fighters in Syria using Bitcoin.

Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, had been working as a lab technician in Manhattan until June, Time Magazine reports, citing prosecutors, and had no criminal record.

"She then engaged in a pattern of financial activity, culminating in several wire transactions, totaling over $150,000, to individuals and apparent shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey", prosecutors said.

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A NY woman has been indicted for attempting to provide financial support to the ISIS terrorist grou in a scheme that prosecutors say involved the purchase of cryptocurrencies using fraudulently obtained credit cards. She spent two weeks in Amman, the Jordanian capital, and in the Zataari refugee camp, a place "where ISIS exercises significant influence".

After conducting the transactions, the suspect sought to travel to Syria herself. After the transactions were sent, according to the statement, Shahnaz was questioned by law enforcement while attempting to travel to Syria from NY.

Shahnaz also researched maps and locations of ISIS-controlled areas of Syria, in addition to looking up "ISIS recruiters, financiers, and fighters, including those who have urged lone-wolf attacks against American targets", according to prosecutors.

If convicted on all charges, Shahnaz could be sentenced to as many as 90 years in prison, according to the attorney's office. Her itinerary included a layover in Istanbul, Turkey, which authorities say is a common entry point for those travelling from Western countries to join ISIS in Syria. She then allegedly transfer the laundered funds out of the country to support ISIS, prosecutors allege. The FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force kept this woman from her risky and potentially deadly goal. "We will do all we can to stop the next person hoping to do the same".

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