Indian American ISIS Supporter Sentenced for Lying on U.S. Military Application

Shivam Patel had earlier told an undercover employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) that he wanted to commit jihad.


An Indian American man was sentenced to five years in prison by a U.S. court on June 4 on charges of passport fraud and making false statements in his application to join the United States military, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

Shivam Patel, 28, of Williamsburg, pleaded guilty in February this year to making false statements and passport application fraud. He had earlier told an undercover employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that he wanted to commit jihad. Patel was working in China in 2016 and then flew to Jordan, where he was arrested, detained, and deported to the United States.

After returning to the United States, Patel applied to join the U.S. Army and Air Force through the Officer Candidate Selection process beginning in December 2016. When he was asked about his previous foreign travel as part of his applications, Patel did not disclose his trips to China or Jordan, according to the Justice Department. Instead, Patel claimed that he had not traveled anywhere outside the United States in the past seven years, except for a family trip to India in 2011–2012.

“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,” the DoJ statement added.

Special agents from the FBI recovered that passport, which documented his undisclosed travel, when they arrested him in July 2017.

Following Patel’s arrest, the FBI agents interviewed his parents. They said that their son had converted to Islam many years ago and had started to obsess over it. His parents also told the FBI that they had not heard from their son after he went to Jordan. Patel had told his parents that he had bought a plane ticket to Jordan since he wanted to go to Mecca, as per WY Daily. He also told them that he did not like how Muslims were treated in China.

In September 2016, Patel told an FBI undercover employee that he wanted to commit jihad and join a Muslim army, according to the statement. Patel started talking with the undercover agent at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. Patel was full of praises for the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, and the Orlando nightclub shooting in June 2016, among other terror incidents. He, however, said that his jihad may not be violent, according to the affidavit.

According to court documents, Patel later that day also spoke another undercover FBI agent at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and discussed the Orlando nightclub shooting. He told the agent that he hoped the agent was not feeling bad for the victims.

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