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Document and Benefit Fraud
11/09/2014

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Naturalized US citizen convicted on immigration fraud charges for failing to disclose terrorism conviction

Verdict paves the way for defendant’s removal from the US

DETROIT — A naturalized U.S. citizen, who was convicted in Israel for participating in a terrorist bombing, was convicted Monday on immigration fraud charges following a five-day jury trial. The conviction is the result of an extensive investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Special agents with HSI and the FBI arrested Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 66, at a Chicago-area residence last fall.

"Today's guilty verdict further emphasizes that the United States will never be a safe haven for individuals seeking to distance themselves from their pasts, no matter how distant that past might be," said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge for HSI Detroit. "When individuals lie on immigration documents, the system is severely undermined and the security of our nation is put at risk."

Odeh was found guilty of procuring her U.S. citizenship unlawfully. According to the indictment, 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.

"An individual convicted of a terrorist bombing would not be admitted to the United States if that information was known at the time of arrival," said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade. "Upon discovery that someone convicted of a terrorist attack is in the United States illegally, we will seek to use our criminal justice system to remove that individual."

Odeh faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and will be stripped of her U.S. citizenship and placed in removal proceedings.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/12/2016