Skip to main content
May 3, 2023Raleigh, NC, United StatesEnforcement and Removal, Document and Benefit Fraud, Child Exploitation

Federal judge sentences naturalized citizen for lying to obtain US citizenship

RALEIGH, N.C. — U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced Cruz Miguel Aguina, 40, to eight months in prison following a guilty plea to immigration fraud. Aguina was also judicially denaturalized as a U.S. citizen.

According to court records, on July 3, 2019, Aguina fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship by making materially false statements under oath regarding his naturalization application. Aguina answered no in response to the question “Were you ever involved in … forcing, or trying to force, someone to have any kind of sexual contact or relations?” He also answered no in response to the question “Have you ever committed, assisted in committing, or attempted to commit, a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?”

However, on June 16, 2022, in the Superior Court of North Carolina in Johnston County, Aguina was convicted of statutory rape of a child. The judge sentenced him to between 240 and 348 months’ imprisonment and ordered him to register as a sex offender. 

According to the transcript of plea and judgment issued by the court, Aguina confessed to having committed the crime from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 30, 2019. Therefore, the offense was ongoing when he made the false statements on his naturalization application.

“Citizenship is America’s most precious gift we can give,” said ERO Atlanta Field Office Director Sean Ervin. “Those who earn the gift can tell stories of profound courage, character and sacrifice. Allowing a rapist like Aguina to stand among their proud ranks after stealing what others honorably earned is unthinkable. ERO and its law enforcement partners will relentlessly defend the integrity of our nation’s naturalization process.”

Operation False Haven is an ongoing ICE initiative with support from ERO and Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force and the U.S. attorney’s office. The operation identifies and helps prosecute egregious felons who were convicted after petitioning for immigration benefits, for crimes they committed prior to applying.

Since 2019, Operation False Haven has resulted in 56 criminal cases, 26 civil cases, 21 convictions, 15 judicial revocations of citizenship, and seven judicial removal orders against defendants convicted of crimes involving serial rape, child molestation, incest, child sexual abuse material, kidnapping, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, tax fraud, prescription fraud, embezzlement, aggravated identity theft and elder abuse.

For more news and information on how ERO Atlanta carries out its immigration enforcement mission in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, follow us on Twitter @EROAtlanta.