CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A 27-year-old Long Island woman is facing federal charges of laundering bitcoin and other crypto currencies and wiring the money overseas to help Islamic State terrorists.
Prosecutors say Zoobia Shahnaz, of Brentwood, was charged with bank fraud and money laundering in an indictment unsealed in Central Islip on Thursday.
Prosecutors say the former lab technician fraudulently obtained over $85,000 through a bank loan and credit cards to buy bitcoin and other crypto currencies online. They say the Brentwood resident then wired over $150,000 to individuals and shell entities in Pakistan, China and Turkey.
During this time, prosecutors say Shahnaz accessed numerous Islamic State propaganda websites.
Prosecutors say she was questioned at JFK Airport in July while trying to make her way to Syria by attempting to board a flight to Islamabad, Pakistan.
Her itinerary included a multi-day layover in Istanbul, Turkey – a common point of entry for individuals traveling from Western countries to join ISIS in Syria.
If convicted, Shahnaz faces a maximum of 30 years for the bank fraud charge and 20 years on each count money laundering count.
Her lawyer didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.