Ms Zoobia Shahnaz, a 27-yeard-old woman from Brentwood, was arrested at JFK airport this Wednesday when she tried the flee the US for Syria. She was charged with bank fraud and four counts of money laundering, acting US Attorney Ms Bridget Rohde said in a statement.
The Long Island woman had laundered more than $85,000 through Bitcoin and other crypto currencies overseas to send it to the terrorist organization of the Islamic State.
Between the months of June and July of this year, she used 16 credit cards that were fraudulently obtained to purchase $63,000 in Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. Furthermore, she was able to obtain a loan from a Manhattan bank for approximately $22,500 in June. With those monies and credit cards, she started sending money to people in Pakistan, China and Turkey, federal officials say. After all would be done, her plan was to “travel to Syria and join ISIS.”
The thing that gave her away while she was transferring money to the terrorist group overseas, is that Ms 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.”
The woman had formerly worked as a lab technician in a Manhattan hospital and police is currently checking all the equipment and computer files over there which she had access to.
The FBI had been tracking her for a while as she was frequently on social media truing to look up “ISIS recruiters, financiers, and fighters, including those who have urged lone-wolf attacks against American targets.”
According to the official police statement, Ms Shahnaz currently refuses to cooperate with investigators and is “providing false and conflicting explanations” about her wire transfers.
She is faced with a maximum prison term of 30 years for bank fraud and 20 years on each count of money laundering.