DOJ’s press release appears below, and the criminal complaint/affidavit are attached:
WASHINGTON – Yousif Al Mashhandani (“Yousif”), 35, of Vienna, Virginia, and Adil Hasan, 38, of Burke, Virginia, who are full biological brothers, were arrested this morning. The third individual charged is Enas Ibrahim, 32, also of Burke, who is the wife of Hasan. Each are charged with attempting to obtain naturalization contrary to law. The defendants will have their initial appearance today in front of Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis at 2 p.m. at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.
Acting Deputy Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana J. Boente, Assistant Director in Charge Andrew W. Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field and Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Lechleitner of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., made the announcement.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, on Nov. 1, 2004, a U.S. citizen, identified as R.H., was kidnapped and held with other hostages for months in horrible conditions in an underground bunker. After a raid in 2005 freed the hostages, Majid Al Mashhadani (“Majid”), who is a full biological brother of Yousif and Hasan, was detained and admitted his complicity in the kidnapping of R.H.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Yousif was admitted into the U.S. as a refugee in 2008. In May 2013, Yousif resided in Vienna and applied for naturalization as a U.S. citizen. In connection with Yousif’s applications for citizenship, his fingerprints were taken. According to an FBI fingerprint specialist, analysis conducted in November 2013 determined that Yousif’s fingerprints match those found on a document at the underground bunker where forces rescued R.H. and others in Iraq in 2005.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Yousif, Hasan and Ibrahim are lawful permanent residents and have applied to naturalize and become U.S. citizens. On various applications and forms throughout their respective immigration processes, each has provided an extensive list of family members and information of their respective family trees; however, none listed any reference to Majid.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, on March 4, 2016, FBI agents interviewed Yousif, Hasan and Ibrahim. When FBI agents asked Yousif why he failed to include reference to Majid on the family tree form, Yousif said he omitted reference to Majid because, when he was a refugee, he was told by others applying for refugee status that he would not be allowed into the U.S. if any immediate family members had a criminal background. Hasan admitted to FBI agents that Majid was his brother. Hasan and Ibrahim each admitted they discussed not including Majid’s name on their applications for refugee status because their connection to Majid might delay their ability to gain such status.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, to justify his application for refugee status, Yousif reported that in 2006, while working as an anti-corruption investigator for the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity in Iraq, he started receiving threats from a Shiite militia known as the "Al Mahdi Militia," in order to coerce Yousif to drop a particular corruption investigation. Yousif said that in May 2006, Hasan was kidnapped by the Al Mahdi Militia, and was released only after Yousif arranged to drop the investigation in question and helped pay a large ransom. Yousif said that after Hasan was released, he reopened the corruption investigation, only to flee to Jordon in October 2006 after his parents’ house was burned down.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, to justify his application for refugee status, Hasan provided sworn testimony that, in 2006, he had been kidnapped and tortured by members of the Al Mahdi Army and held for nearly a month. Hasan said he was released upon the payment of a ransom of $20,000. In an interview by FBI agents in April 2016, Hasan said he was threatened in Iraq on two occasions, but made no mention of being kidnapped, held hostage and tortured for nearly a month. In a subsequent interview in October 2016, FBI agents confronted Hasan about the discrepancy in his stories and Hasan admitted to making false statements and creating his persecution story.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court. Each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes ICE/HSI and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gordon Kromberg and Collen Garcia for the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.