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Press Release

Onondaga County Man Indicted on False Statement Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
Honest Answers Would Have Revealed His Membership in Iranian-Backed Shiite Militia and Paramilitary Organization

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Chasib Hafedh Saadoon Al Fawadi, age 35, of Syracuse, was charged yesterday by indictment with making false statements in connection with his application to obtain a green card.

Acting United States Attorney Bacon stated: “As alleged in the indictment, Al Fawadi lied to U.S. authorities to conceal his membership in, and support of, an Iranian-backed militia that has carried out attacks in Iraq and Syria. National security is our number one priority. With our law enforcement partners, we will aggressively investigate and seek charges against immigration applicants who lie about their affiliation with violent, extremist organizations.”

Thomas F. Relford, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office, stated: “The FBI works tirelessly to protect the American people from dangerous individuals seeking to cause harm. Mr. Al Fawadi’s alleged fraudulent actions could have resulted in a member of a violent, Iranian-backed militia becoming a United States citizen. The FBI will continue to work diligently with our local, state, and federal partners to ensure the safety of every American.”

According to the indictment, Al Fawadi, an Iraqi citizen, made false statements in connection with his application to become a lawful permanent resident.  Specifically, the indictment alleges that he made false statements (1) on his United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-485 for permanent residence; (2) to an official of the USCIS, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, during an interview conducted on April 9, 2019, in connection with his application for permanent residence; and (3) to another USCIS official on October 30, 2019.

As detailed in the indictment, Al Fawadi falsely answered questions where honest answers would have revealed that (1) he had been a member of and affiliated with Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, an Iranian-backed Shiite militia and paramilitary organization and group whose members routinely used weapons against others and threatened to do so; (2) he had also assisted and provided material support to Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq knowing that it had engaged in and conspired to engage in sabotage, kidnapping, political assassination, hijacking, and other forms of terrorist activity; (3) he had received military, paramilitary and weapons training; and (4) he had traveled to Iran and Syria.  By instead providing false answers, Al Fawadi attempted to conceal all of this information from the USCIS.

According to the indictment, on March 17, 2015, while in Turkey, Al Fawadi applied for classification as a refugee and to be admitted to the United States along with his family in large part on his claim that, while in Iraq, he was persecuted and threatened by Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq because he had refused to assist in the kidnappings of Sunni Muslims.

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

If convicted, Al Fawadi faces up to 5 years in prison on each false statement charge, up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release, and a maximum $250,000 fine.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Clymer.

Updated September 3, 2020

National Security