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March 12, 2015Detroit, MI, United StatesDocument and Benefit Fraud

Former naturalized US citizen sentenced, ordered deported for failing to disclose terrorism conviction

DETROIT — A former naturalized U.S. citizen, who was convicted in Israel for participating in a terrorist bombing, was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison on immigration fraud charges. The sentencing follows an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 67, a Chicago-area resident was found guilty Nov. 10, 2014, following a five-day jury trial, of procuring her U.S. citizenship unlawfully. As part of her sentence, Odeh’s citizenship was revoked and she was ordered removed to Jordan.

The HSI investigation revealed Odeh was convicted in Israel for her role in the 1969 bombings of a supermarket and the British Consulate in Jerusalem, which were carried out on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine ("PFLP"), a designated terrorist organization.

Odeh and others placed multiple bombs at the British Consulate and in a supermarket. One of the bombs placed at the supermarket detonated, killing two and injuring others. A bomb placed at the Consulate caused structural damage to the facility. Odeh was sentenced by Israeli military authorities to life imprisonment, but was released after 10 years as part of a prisoner exchange, and she then returned to the West Bank.

The evidence presented at trial established that in 1995, Odeh immigrated to the United States and was naturalized as a citizen in 2004. In her immigration documents filed in the United States, Odeh failed to disclose her arrest, conviction and imprisonment overseas, which were material facts for the U.S. government in determining whether to grant her citizenship.

"Today's sentencing and deportation order against the defendant underscores the severe penalties that await those who attempt to defraud the immigration system by hiding derogatory information from their past," said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge for HSI Detroit. "When individuals are less than truthful on their immigration documents, the system is severely undermined and the security of our nation is put at risk. I applaud the HSI special agents and federal prosecutors who worked tirelessly to resolve this lengthy and complex investigation."

U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade stated, "The United States government is entitled to accurate information about people who are asking permission to enter and stay in the country. A prior conviction for committing a terrorist bombing is a very significant fact, and failure to disclose this information is a serious fraud against the United States."

As part of her sentence, the Honorable Gershwin A. Drain revoked Odeh’s U.S. citizenship and ordered her removed and deported to Jordan. Judge Drain stayed the execution of these orders pending her appeal of the conviction. Judge Drain also granted Odeh’s request to remain on bond pending her appeal.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Jebson.