Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, is charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
Various news reports describe Shahnaz as a US citizen with no criminal record who was born in Pakistan. After the transactions were sent, according to the statement, Shahnaz was questioned by law enforcement while attempting to travel to Syria from NY. The government says Shahnaz was detained on July 31 at John F. Kennedy airport as she was headed to Pakistan by way of Istanbul, from where they believe she meant to enter Syria and join ISIS.
It is claimed that Shahnaz, using loans and credit cards obtained with fake information, defrauded a number of financial institutions - including American Express Bank, Chase Bank, Discover Bank and TD Bank.
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A Long Island woman is accused of laundering bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and wiring the money overseas to help the Islamic State group, according to federal prosecutors. She lives in the town of Brentwood, N.Y., where she was working as a lab technician in a Manhattan hospital until June, when she quit her job. "Persons engaged in illicit activity such as money laundering and terrorist financing may use cryptocurrencies to avoid detection by law enforcement or intelligence services".
A woman allegedly converted $85,000 into bitcoin and other virtual currencies to support Islamic State, but was nabbed by authorities as she tried to board a flight out of the US.
Shahnaz previous year 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. But her itinerary also included a multi-day layover in Istanbul, Turkey - which is a common point of entry for people travelling from Western countries to join ISIS in Syria, the DoJ said.
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The detective added that the police were still trying to " determine if there is foul play involved or not ", as reported by CBC. Police said later Friday evening that they are not now seeking any suspects but are keeping an open mind on all possibilities.
She then allegedly tried to leave the USA for Syria via Pakistan and Turkey, but was stopped before she left the country.
"Some of that money came in the form of $63,000 in bitcoin and other crypto-currencies purchased with the credit cards", prosecutors added. She is now being held without bail.
If convicted, Shahnaz could face a maximum of 30 years for bank fraud and 20 years on each count of money laundering.
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