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18 December 2017, 01:05 | Myrtle Vega
Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, of Brentwood, was charged in federal court with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Various news reports describe Shahnaz as a USA citizen with no criminal record who was born in Pakistan.
After she laundered the money to people in Pakistan, China and Turkey, federal officials say, she "planned to travel to Syria and join ISIS".
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.
The Justice Department says Shahnaz then began transferring money overseas to support ISIS, while taking measures to disguise the nature and objective of the funds and avoid transaction reporting requirements.
Authorities say a woman on Long Island, N.Y., stole and transferred more than $85,000 to support the Islamic State, using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
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Shahnaz a year ago travelled to Jordan to volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society, during which times she helped give medical aid to Syrian refugees in refugee camps where ISIS "exercises significant influence", according to court documents.
"The defendant defrauded numerous financial institutions and obtained over $85,000 in illicit proceeds, which she converted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies", the DOJ explained in a statement.
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. Shahnaz's family is said to have been unaware of her travel plans at the time of her arrest; Time magazine reports they were also unaware she had quit her job. Her flight included a layover in Istanbul, Turkey, a common point of entry for individuals trying to join the Islamic State group in Syria, prosecutors said.
"[Shahnaz].fraudulently applied for over a dozen credit cards, which she used to purchase approximately $62,000 in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies online".
Shahnaz was held without bail.
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.
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