Indictment: Brentwood woman laundered $85K for ISIS

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A Brentwood woman is accused of laundering $85,000 in illicit proceeds which were then transferred in support of the Islamic State group.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde, a five-count indictment was unsealed Thursday in federal court in Central Islip charging 27-year-old Zoobia Shahnaz with bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and three substantive counts of money laundering.

According to the indictment, Shahnaz defrauded numerous financial institutions to obtain the $85,000, then converted the money to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. After transferring the funds to ISIS, she allegedly attempted to leave the U.S. and travel to Syria. 


"The indictment reflects the resolve of this office, together with our law enforcement partners, to investigate and prosecute anyone who would seek to support terrorists, including those who would perpetrate financial crimes to do so," said Rohde, in prepared remarks.

Rohde credited the FBI New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, as well as the Suffolk County Police Department, for keeping Shahnaz "from her dangerous and potentially deadly goal."

The indictment and court filings show that the alleged scheme occurred between March 2017 and the day she attempted to travel to Syria on July to join ISIS.  

According to the U.S. attorney, Shahnaz was questioned by law enforcement at John F. Kennedy International Airport when she attempted to board a flight to Islamabad, Pakistan.

Shahnaz pleaded not guilty to two counts of money laundering, two counts of conspiracy and one count of bank fraud. The judge denied her bail.

The assistant U.S. attorney said Shahnaz is a flight risk and a danger to the public.

Shahnaz’s attorney claims that the whole thing is a huge misunderstanding. He claims Shahnaz was trying to help Syrian refugees she met during a 2016 trip with the Syrian-American Medical Society as a volunteer.

she did is for humanitarian purposes,” says Steve Zissou. “She’s involved in assisting refugees.”

Shahnaz faces a maximum of 30 years for the bank fraud charge and 20 years on each money laundering count, if convicted.

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