US authorities declared a woman on Long Island, New York, USA using bitcoins and other virtual currencies, to transfer tens of thousands of dollars to support the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Quoting NPR on Monday (12/18/2017), Zoobia Shahnaz (27) is subject to articles related to bank fraud, conspiracy to money laundering, and three other money laundering articles.
In the US District Court in Central Islip, New York, last week, he pleaded not guilty. Shahnaz is a Pakistani-born US citizen, living in Brentwood, New York where he works as a lab technician at a hospital in Manhattan until June 2017.
Shahnaz was detained on July 31, 2017 at John F Kennedy international airport when he was flying to Pakistan via Istanbul, Turkey. He is believed to be heading for Syria to join ISIS.
“As a healthcare professional, by 2016 Miss Shahnaz is a volunteer at Syrian American Medical Society that helps other healthcare providers to provide health care for Syrian refugees,” said Steve Zissou, Shahnaz lawyer.
According to US Justice Department documents, Shahnaz uses more than a dozen credit cards to buy bitcoins and other digital currencies worth 62,700 US dollars or about Rp 864.4 million. Shahnaz converts the digital currency back into US dollars and keeps the funds in check on its behalf.
He also applied for a loan worth 22,500 US dollars or about Rp 303.7 million to a bank in Manhattan. Then, said the Justice Department, Shahnaz began transferring money to support ISIS.
The US Attorney said the virtual currency operates independently and provides anonymity to its users. People involved in activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing may use digital currencies to avoid law enforcement or intelligence services.
If proven to commit bank fraud, Shahnaz faces criminal penalty of up to 30 years. Other punishments could have made Shahnaz sentenced to 20 years.