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NY woman uses bitcoin to launder money to ISIS

NY woman uses bitcoin to launder money to ISIS

A Long Island woman has been charged in federal court in Central Islip with laundering more than $85,000, using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, to support ISIS, officials said Thursday.

A five-count-indictment charges Shahnaz with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three substantive counts of money laundering, according to a US Department of Justice statement. "Shahnaz, a U.S citizen, was arrested yesterday, and her initial arraignment is scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson".

Shahnaz, between the months of June and July, allegedly used 16 credit cards that were fraudulently obtained to purchase almost $63,000 in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Shahnaz was arrested on Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport, following a line of questioning by law enforcement officials who stopped her as she tried to leave the U.S. for Islamabad, Pakistan.

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Shahnaz's lawyer pushed back on the charges, saying that she was only looking to help Syrian refugees she had met while volunteering in Jordan at the Syrian American Medical Society. She was also allegedly able to obtain a loan from a Manhattan bank for approximately $22,500 in June. It is further alleged that Zubia Shahnaz also searched the maps and locations of the areas of Damascus, where Islamic State was active. "These transactions were created to avoid transaction reporting requirements, hide the identity, source and destination of the illicitly obtained monies, and, ultimately, benefit ISIS".

Prosecutors said that Ms Shahnaz obtained a Pakistani passport in July and booked a flight to Pakistan with a layover in Istanbul, intending to travel to Syria.

After she laundered the money to people in Pakistan, China and Turkey, federal officials say, she "planned to travel to Syria and join ISIS".