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Press Release

Orange County Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to ISIL and Making False Statements in Passport Application

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

SANTA ANA, California – A resident of the City of Orange pleaded guilty today to federal charges of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and making a false statement in a passport application.

Adam Dandach, 21, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge James V. Selna.

In a plea agreement filed today in federal court, Dandach admitted that, beginning in approximately November 2013 and continuing until July 2, 2014, he attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIL with the purpose of providing material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization. He further admitted that he knew that ISIL was a designated foreign terrorist organization that engaged in terrorist activity and terrorism.

“This case demonstrates the need for continued vigilance and swift action to fight the false allure of foreign terrorist organizations that threaten the security of the United States,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “As Mr. Dandach succumbed to ISIL’s online recruiting efforts, the Joint Terrorism Task Force was able to uncover his plan before he left the United States, which prevented this young man from becoming a foreign fighter. As a result of today’s guilty pleas, Mr. Dandach now faces a lengthy term in federal prison.”

David Bowdich, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI'S Los Angeles Field Office, stated: “Mr. Dandach acknowledged his support for the Islamic State, a terrorist organization whose members are known for the torture and murder of innocent victims. The FBI and our Joint Terrorism Task Force partners are committed to disrupting the increasing trend concerning individuals who travel, or attempt to travel, from the United States to train with terrorists, and who thereby pose a potential threat of returning to commit attacks on U.S. soil.”

According to court documents, on July 1, 2014, Dandach purchased a ticket to fly from Santa Ana to Istanbul. The FBI intercepted Dandach at the John Wayne International Airport the following day. Dandach told FBI special agents that his ultimate destination was Syria and that he intended to pledge allegiance to ISIL’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He explained that he wished to live under the control of ISIL and intended to undergo weapons training. 

Dandach also admitted that he made a false statement in a passport application, namely that he had lost his previous passport. In fact, a family member had taken Dandach’s passport from him during the previous year when he expressed an interest in traveling to Syria.

 “Adam Dandach attempted to travel to Syria to provide material support to ISIL, and lied in his passport application in order to do so,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin. “One of the National Security Division’s top priorities remains stemming the flow of foreign fighters and bringing to justice those who seek to provide material support to foreign designated terrorist organizations.”

Judge Selna is scheduled to sentence Dandach on January 11, 2016. At that time, the defendant will face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison for providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization and a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years for making a false statement in a passport application.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Orange County.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Celeste Corlett of the Santa Ana branch office and Trial Attorney Annamartine Salick of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Trial Attorneys Jolie Zimmerman and Kelly Harris of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are assisting in the prosecution.

Updated August 11, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-076