"The defendant defrauded numerous financial institutions and obtained over $85,000 in illicit proceeds, which she converted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies", the DOJ explained in a statement.
According to court documents, Shahnaz spent time in Jordan a year ago volunteering with the Syrian American Medical Society, which brought her to Syrian refugee camps where the Islamic State "exercises significant influence".
Prosecutors said Shahnaz quit her job in June without telling her family and was stopped by authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport in July while attempting to board a flight to Islamabad, Pakistan. 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.
Shahnaz past 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.
Shahnaz is a USA citizen born in Pakistan. 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. Shahnaz, a USA citizen and onetime Manhattan hospital lab technician with no criminal past, was awaiting arraignment Thursday in federal Court on Long Island.
She is standing trial in NY and faces 90 years in prison if convicted.
A suburban NY hospital technician accused of using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to launder money meant for the militant Islamic State (IS) group was arrested on charges of money laundering in support of a foreign terrorist organisation and bank fraud, prosecutors said on Thursday. We will do all we can to stop the next person hoping to do the same. From there, she used the funds to purchase $62,703.71 in Bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies that according to the court filings provided her an additional layer of privacy for her scheme to funnel money to the terror group. "While there are ways of buying cryptocurrency anonymously without leaving a paper trail, it is very hard to do so in large amounts". Despite this, expect to see the mainstream media zeroing in on bitcoin as a conduit for terrorism. She is now being held without bail.