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Va. man who wanted to commit jihad tried to join U.S. Army, USAF under false pretenses

A Virginia man who once told an undercover agent that he wanted to join a “Muslim army” and commit jihad pled guilty Thursday to passport fraud and to making false statements while later applying to join the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.

When Shivam Patel, 28, of Williamsburg, flew from China to Jordan in 2016, he was arrested and sent back to the United States, according to court documents.

Patel had told an undercover agent and a confidential source that he wanted to commit jihad.

After he was back in the United States, Patel applied to join the Army and the Air Force. But when asked by a recruiter about foreign travel, Patel didn’t reveal that he had been in China and Jordan.

When the recruiter asked to see his passport, Patel said he had accidentally thrown it away and he applied for a new passport, according to a statement from Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

FBI agents arrested Patel in July 2017 and found his original passport that documented his travels.

Patel pled guilty to making false statements and to passport application fraud. He will be sentenced on June 4 and faces up to 15 years in prison.

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