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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Man Who Wanted to Commit Jihad Attempted to Join U.S. Military

NORFOLK, Va. – A Williamsburg man who told an undercover agent that he wanted to commit jihad, pleaded guilty today to passport fraud and to making false statements in his application to join the United States military.

According to court documents, Shivam Patel, 28, was working in China in the summer of 2016 when he flew to the Kingdom of Jordan, was arrested, detained, and then returned to the United States. Patel is alleged to have told an undercover agent and a confidential source that he wanted to join a “Muslim army” and commit jihad. After returning to the United States, he applied to join the Army and Air Force. When asked about his prior foreign travel as part of his applications, Patel did not disclose his trips to China or Jordan. After he was asked to show an Army recruiter his passport, which would have revealed his prior travel to the recruiter, he filed an application for a new passport, falsely claiming that he had accidentally thrown his old passport away. Special agents from the FBI recovered that passport, which documented his undisclosed travel, when they arrested him in July 2017.

Patel pleaded guilty to false statements and passport application fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when sentenced on June 4. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Edward C. O’Callaghan, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leonard accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. Bosse and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:17-cr-120.

Topic(s): 
National Security
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated February 8, 2018