BRENTWOOD, NY - A 27-year-old Brentwood woman was arraigned Thursday for laundering more than $150,000 to support the terrorist organization ISIS and then trying to flee to Syria, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde.
Zoobia Shahnaz, a U.S. citizen, was arrested Wednesday for bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of money laundering, the U.S. attorney said.
Starting in March, she obtained a loan for $22,500 by way of "materially false representations." She also fraudulently applied for over a dozen credit cards, which she used to purchase $62,000 in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies online.
Shahnaz then made several wire transactions to individuals and shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey in order avoid transaction reporting requirements, hide the identity, source and destination of the illegally obtained money and, ultimately, benefit ISIS.
After conducting these financial transactions, she tried to travel to Syria in July, but was questioned by law enforcement at John F. Kennedy International Airport when she attempted to board a flight to Islamabad, Pakistan, Rohde said.
Her itinerary included a multi-day layover in Istanbul, Turkey – a common point of entry for individuals travelling from Western countries to join ISIS in Syria.
"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," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said. "On top of which, she allegedly tried to launder virtual currency to bolster terrorists' dwindling financial support. The FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force kept this woman from her dangerous and potentially deadly goal."
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Source : https://patch.com/new-york/brentwood-central-islip/li-woman-sent-150k-laudered-money-isis-u-s-attorney290