A Pakistani born US citizen Zoobia Shahnaz was arrested and jailed for being involved in a Bitcoin fraud. She was given 20 years in prison for money laundering and 30 years for financial fraud. Recently Zoobia pleaded guilty claiming that she was just aiding the Syrian refugees.
According to the prosecutors, Zoobia deceived many financial institutes to help Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). She laundered Bitcoin and wired money to ISIS fighters in Syria.
Zoobia bought around $63,000 worth of Bitcoins by using 16 various credit cards. Furthermore, she took a debt of $22,500 from Manhattan Bank. Then she laundered money all over the world to different people living in Pakistan, Turkey, China etc. From there the money was sent to the ISIS group in Syria.
William Sweeney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Assistant Director-in-Charge said, “In the interest of empowering and enriching a terrorist organization whose aim is to harm America, Zoobia Shahnaz turned her back on her country and her fellow citizens.”
Zoobia was basically a lab technician at a Manhattan hospital. She quitted her job back in June and acquired a Pakistani passport. Then in July, she was arrested as she tried to get on a flight at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. She intended to leave the USA and join ISIS.
Now Zoobia has pleaded guilty as her lawyer says that through the money she was just helping the Syrian refugees.
The lawyer added, “Her humanitarian efforts then and since were motivated by her commitment to helping alleviate the plight of the people in the Middle East.”