A suburban New York hospital technician accused of utilizing bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies to launder cash meant for the phobia group ISIS was arrested on costs of cash laundering in assist of a international terrorist group and financial institution fraud, prosecutors stated Thursday.
Federal prosecutors in New York’s Suffolk County claimed in courtroom papers that Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, used fraudulent bank cards and loans to build up $85,000, which she tried to switch to the terrorist group ISIS earlier than making an attempt to go to Syria to affix it.
Prosecutors stated that after travelling to Jordan to work with the Syrian American Medical Society, Shahnaz returned to the US and utilized for six bank cards, which she used to purchase bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies.
The resident of the hamlet of Brentwood in Islip on Lengthy Island appeared earlier than a federal decide late on Thursday and was ordered detained, prosecutors stated.
Shahnaz’ lawyer, Steve Zissou, didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the case.
After borrowing about $85,000 with fraudulently obtained bank cards and loans and withdrawing one other $22,000 from financial institution accounts in her personal title, Shahnaz despatched funds to recipients in Pakistan, China and Turkey, prosecutors stated.
A few of that cash got here within the type of $63,000 in bitcoin and different crypto-currencies bought with the bank cards, prosecutors stated.
Arraignment and detention paperwork launched on Thursday confirmed that Shahnaz, a US citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested on Wednesday.
Prosecutors stated that in July Shahnaz obtained a Pakistani passport and booked a flight to Pakistan with a layover in Istanbul with the intention of going to Syria. She was stopped by regulation enforcement investigators at John F. Kennedy airport and questioned about her journey and the monetary transactions, prosecutors stated.
She had $9,500 in money together with her, slightly below the restrict of $10,000 that an individual can take in another country with out declaring it to immigration and customs officers, they stated.
Subsequent searches of Shahnaz’ digital gadgets confirmed quite a few searches for ISIS-related materials, together with journey checklists.
She faces three costs of cash laundering, together with cash laundering in assist of a international terrorist group, and can also be charged with financial institution fraud. She faces as much as 20 years in jail on every of the cash laundering costs and as much as 30 years for the financial institution fraud cost.
© Thomson Reuters 2017