A Palestinian man from Jericho, who has spent years incarcerated for sexual and violent offense, is now charged with falsely assuming the identity of Joe Thomas, a Jewish American duel-citizen, so that he was able to live, work and fraudulently collect benefits in Israel as a citizen.
By Ahiya Raved
The police filed Thursday an indictment against a Palestinian man who has been posing as an American Jewish citizen and living in Israel under a false identity for the past several years.
By obtaining fraudulent documents—such as an identity card, driver’s license, HMO card and even a US embassy certificate—the defendant was able to live and work in Israel.
The police charged Gudat Abdullah Omar, a resident of Jericho in the West Bank, with false representation, forgery, and fraudulently obtaining benefit. A request for his remand, pending the conclusion of the legal proceeding, was made.
The criminal impersonation attributed to Omar started in 2016, but police say he has been living in Israel under various false identities for almost 15 years. According to the indictment filed against him, the defendant impersonated a man named Joe Thomas, a Jewish-American citizen who immigrated from the United States.
Under this identity, Omar rented an apartment in Tel Adashim (a moshav in northern Israel) with his partner, who was unaware of his true identity.
He had several agricultural jobs and worked in an awning company. The defendant even finished a High Altitude Construction Training course while posing as Joe Thomas.
According to the police, apart from falsifying documents, Omar fabricated stories to corroborate his fictitious identity, and even spoke with a heavy American accent. He told some of his employers that he was an orphan who grew up in North Carolina and attended a military boarding school. He told others that his mother was a French Jew and that he had studied in a yeshiva.
Among other documents found in his possession was a VIP certificate from the Ministry of Defense, in which he was presented as “the Security Department Chief of the American Embassy.”
The defendant was arrested in the past for posing as Joe Thomas. According to the request for his remand, he has a rich criminal past, which includes false representation and other offenses such as security offenses (placing explosives), sexual offenses, intimidation, and violence.
He spent ten years behind bars: he was sentenced to two years in prison in one case, and to eight years imprisonment in another.
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