posted by Christopher W. Holton
A Long Island, New York woman named Zoobia Shahnaz has been charged with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering and is being held without bail after evidence indicated that she was sending money to the Islamic State jihadist organization.
Shahnaz was born in Pakistan and worked as a lab technician at a hospital in New York City.
Prosecutors say she took out fraudulent loans of $85,000 in order to buy the bitcoin online to transfer funds destined for the Islamic State.
Prosecutors say that Shahnaz obtained a Pakistani passport in July and booked a flight to Pakistan with a layover in Istanbul, intending to travel to Syria.
She was arrested at John F Kennedy airport in New York carrying $9,500 in cash, just under the limit of $10,000 that a person can legally take out of the country without declaring the funds.
Searches of her electronic devices showed numerous searches for Islamic State-related material.
Ms Shahnaz faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the money laundering charges and up to 30 years for the bank fraud charge.