Published: Sun, December 17, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Long Island woman laundered money to ISIS through Bitcoin, prosecutors say

Long Island woman laundered money to ISIS through Bitcoin, prosecutors say

Her lawyer, Steve Zissou, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.

Around January 2016, Shahnaz went to Jordan as a volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society, where for two weeks she helped provide medical aid "to Syrian refugees in Amman and in the Zataari Refugee camp, where ISIS exercises significant influence", prosecutors said in court papers.

"Shahnaz - a former lab tech at a Manhattan hospital - allegedly obtained her ill-gotten lucre by fooling banks into giving her a $22,500 loan and more than a dozen credit cards, which she used to purchase approximately $62,000 in cryptocurrencies online", the New York Post reports.

Various news reports describe Shahnaz as a US citizen with no criminal record who was born in Pakistan.

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A month later she attempted to get on a flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport with the intention to leave the US and join ISIS.

DOJ added they found "after conducting these financial transactions, the defendant sought to travel to Syria herself" continuing that Shahnaz constructed an itinerary to Pakistan with a multi-day layover in Turkey.

Shahnaz was charged in a grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday with bank fraud and money laundering to support a foreign terrorist organization.

Syria is a perilous and violent war-torn country, but the subject in this investigation was allegedly so determined to assist ISIS that she planned a covert, illegal entry into Syria.

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She is standing trial in NY and faces 90 years in prison if convicted.

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.

Prosecutors said the 27-year-old USA citizen fraudulently applied for more than a dozen credit cards that she used to purchase $62,000 in Bitcoin, then engaged in a financial scheme that netted $150,000, which she transferred to shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey.

Shahnaz was held without bail.

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