New York Woman Charged with Sending Bitcoin to Islamic State Fighters

18 December, 2017, 01:05 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
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The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of NY charged Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three substantive counts of money laundering.

While she was transferring money to the terrorist group overseas, authorities claimed, Shahnaz had "accessed ISIS propaganda, violent jihad-related websites and message boards, and social media and messaging pages of known ISIS recruiters, facilitators and financiers".

Shahnaz is a USA citizen born in Pakistan. A month later she attempted to get on a flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport with the intention to leave the USA and join ISIS.

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They say that on July 31 she then tried to fly out of John F. Kennedy International Airport to Pakistan and Istanbul - a common point of entry for Westerners trying to reach ISIS in Syria.

Her lawyer says she was sending money to help Syrian refugees. Shahnaz, a US citizen and onetime Manhattan hospital lab technician with no criminal past, was awaiting arraignment Thursday in federal Court on Long Island.

A suburban NY hospital technician accused of using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to launder money meant for the militant Islamic State (IS) group was arrested on charges of money laundering in support of a foreign terrorist organisation and bank fraud, prosecutors said on Thursday.

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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.

Cryptocurrencies may be used "to avoid detection by law enforcement or intelligence services", prosecutors said. The FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force kept this woman from her risky and potentially deadly goal. She converted the credit card funds to buy more than $60,000 in bitcoin and other digital currencies. "Shahnaz has been held without bail and the case will call again on January 5th".

After allegedly swindling the financial institutions out of the money, Shahnaz proceeded with the conversion of that money into bitcoin and similar currencies, which were then moved to overseas funds and laundered in order to support the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), the DOJ press release stated.

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The BBC says Ms Shahnaz faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the money laundering charges and up to 30 years for the bank fraud charge.

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