FBI Arrests Orange County Man for Falsifying Passport Application to Go to War-Torn Syria

A federal grand jury announced this week it indicted a 2012 El Modena High School graduate for lying on an expedited U.S. passport application.

FBI special agents on the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force stopped Adam Dandach (a.k.a. Fadi Fadi Dandach) at John Wayne Airport on July 2 before he could board a Delta Airlines flight to Istanbul, Turkey, and eventually go to Syria.

In June, Dandach reported to the U.S. Department of State in June that he'd accidentally thrown away his passport in a trash can while cleaning and needed a replacement.

FBI agents learned the defendant originally made overseas travel plans in December, but his mother, Sawsan Ghannoum, took his passport and hid it in a purse in her closet because she did not want him to fly to the Middle East.


Under questioning, Dandach–who was born in 1994–eventually admitted he'd lied on the passport application and claimed he was more disappointed he didn't get to go to Syria than running afoul of law enforcement, according to an FBI report.

It's a felony to falsify a passport application, and it's a separate felony to use a passport obtained by lying.

The defendant remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshal on a no-bail hold requested by a federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice's National Security Section.

A trial date has not yet been selected.

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