A woman has been charged with sending tens of thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoins to ISIS fighters overseas. The woman, identified as Zoobi Shahnaz of Brentwood, used bogus information to swindle money from the banks.
According to the Acting US Attorney Bridget Rohde’s statement, the 27-year-old woman engaged in a bank fraud scheme to purchase crypto currencies including Bitcoin and laundered money overseas with the intention of helping terrorists.
It was reported that the alleged woman was planning to flee the US for Syria but was stopped at the JFK airport and was immediately taken into custody. The accused is charged with bank fraud and on four counts of money laundering.
A former lab tech at a Manhattan hospital, Shahnaz allegedly fooled banks into giving her a $22,500 loan and a dozen credit cards, with which she bought crypto currencies worth $62,000 online. From her account, the digital money was wired to individuals and shell organizations in Pakistan, Turkey and China.
The alleged woman took a trip to Jordan last year to volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society. During her time at Jordan, she offered medical aid to Syrian refugees in refugee camps where ISIS has significant influence.
The authorities looking into the case confirmed that she had visited web pages of known ISIS recruiters, fighters, financers as well as articles about women fighting for ISIS. She had also browsed “Islamic State: Who are the Top Female Jihadis” and “medical students ISIS” as per the report.
Shahnaz is looking at a maximum sentence of 30 years for the bank fraud charge and 20 years on each count of money laundering.
In November, South Korean Prime Minister took on the anti- Bitcoin mantle calling it “a gateway to illegal activities.” Likewise, the Reserve Bank of Australia Governor has slammed Bitcoin recently, saying it seems to favor those dealing in the black or operate in the illegal economy.
The value of Bitcoin has registered an unbelievable 17-fold gain since the beginning of the year. According to coinmarketcap.com website, the crypto currency is currently trading at $17,561.80. The combined market cap of the crypto currencies is $525 billion, with Bitcoin contributing a major share of 56 percent.
Also read: Bitcoin: What's ahead for 2018?