Woman accused of laundering bitcoin for ISIS got U.S. visa thanks to family ties: officials

A view of Bitcoin coins on a computer screen on December 12, 2017.
A view of Bitcoin coins on a computer screen on December 12, 2017. Robin Utrecht/ABACAPRESS.COM

NEW YORK – Federal authorities say a Pakistani-born woman accused in a bitcoin scheme to help the Islamic State group got a visa allowing her into United States because of her family ties.

The Department of Homeland Security says Saturday that Zoobia Shahnaz, a naturalized U.S. citizen living on Long Island, benefited from a family-based immigration system Republican President Donald Trump says threatens national security.

READ MORE: Trump ban on Muslim refugees partially lifted by federal judge

Earlier this month, the 27-year-old Shahnaz was charged with laundering bitcoin and wiring money to the Islamic State group. After quitting her job, she was stopped at Kennedy Airport in July attempting to fly to Pakistan.

READ MORE: Long Island woman accused of laundering Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies to help ISIS

Shahnaz’s lawyer has said she was trying to help Syrian refugees.

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The Trump administration has seized on terror-related incidents involving immigrants as ammunition for his efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration policies.

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