Monday, June 17, 2024

Aspiring jihadist from Williamsburg gets 5 years in prison for lying on U.S. military application

Shivam Patel, of Williamsburg, was sentenced in federal court Monday on charges of passport fraud and making false statements. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Department of Justice)
Shivam Patel, of Williamsburg, was sentenced in federal court Monday on charges of passport fraud and making false statements. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Department of Justice)

An Islamic State supporter from Williamsburg will spend to five years in prison Monday for lying in an attempt to join the U.S. military.

Shivam Patel, 28, was sentenced in federal court Monday on charges of passport fraud and making false statements, the Department of Justice said.

Patel pleaded guilty to the charges in February.

Patel was teaching in China during the summer of 2016 when he flew to Jordan and was arrested, detained and sent back to the United States, according to an arrest affidavit.

On Sept. 2, 2016, after being deported from Jordan, Patel started a conversation with an undercover agent at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. He told the agent he wanted to commit jihad and shahid, according to court papers.

He also praised attacks in Paris and Orlando, Florida, but said his jihad might not be violent, the affidavit says.

Patel spoke later that day to an undercover FBI agent at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. He discussed the Orlando nightclub shooting and told the agent he hoped the agent didn’t feel bad for the victims, documents say.

After Patel returned to Williamsburg, he applied to join the Army and the Air Force, as well as for public safety jobs.

On one military application, Patel said he had only traveled abroad once in the past seven years — to India — and omitted any information about his journeys to China and Jordan, according to a criminal indictment.

When a recruiter asked to see Patel’s passport, he applied for a new one instead.

Patel was arrested in July 2017. At that time, authorities found his old passport, which revealed his undisclosed trips.

After his arrest, FBI agents interviewed Patel’s parents, who said their son had converted to Islam “several years ago” and had become “obsessed,” the affidavit says.

His parents said Patel had become upset with the way he believed China treated Muslims. He then bought a plane ticket to Jordan and told his parents he wanted to go to Mecca.

Patel’s parents, who also lived in Williamsburg, told the FBI they didn’t hear from their son after he traveled to Jordan.

FBI agents then searched the Patels’ house along with multiple computers and cellphones. The search revealed several copies of Dabiq magazine, which is published by ISIS, as well as other ISIS-related material and propaganda, according to court papers.

WYDaily archives were used in this story.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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