Zoobia Shahnaz allegedly transferred over $150,000 through shell accounts to benefit extremists
U.S. prosecutors have charged a New York woman with using Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies to send funds to the Islamic State group.
Zoobia Shahnaz, 27, was arrested at her Long Island home on Thursday for sending over $150,000 through shell accounts in China, Pakistan and Turkey to benefit I.S. extremists. Much of the money came from bank loans and credit cards, the Justice Department said. With that, she bought $62,000 worth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which can offer owners anonymity in transfers and payments.
After making the transfers, Shahnaz tried to travel to Syria, prosecutors alleged. She booked a flight to Pakistan that included a layover in Istanbul, which they called “a common point of entry for individuals traveling from Western countries to join ISIS in Syria.”
Shahnaz was charged with five counts of bank fraud and money laundering, but not for supporting a designated terrorist organization, the usual charge for people helping or planning to help the Islamic State.