RALEIGH, N.C. – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced that today in federal court, Saul David Aquino, age 44, a naturalized citizen of the United States, born in Argentina, residing in Franklin County, was sentenced by United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine following a guilty plea to passport fraud. Moreover, Aquino was civilly denaturalized as a United States citizen and ordered judicially removed from the United States.
According to an affidavit for a federal search warrant executed on March 4, 2020, Aquino was born in Argentina in 1976, and on August 4, 2003, he was granted permanent resident status in the United States.
On May 28, 2009, in Franklin County, North Carolina, Aquino completed, and submitted, an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Form N-400 contained a series of questions related to good moral character. Question 15 asked: “Have you ever committed a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?” Aquino answered “No” and signed the Form N-400 under penalty of perjury.
On August 26, 2009, Aquino was granted United States citizenship and was issued a naturalization certificate.
On June 8, 2015, in the Superior Court of North Carolina in Franklin County, Aquino was convicted of two counts of indecent liberties with a child, in violation of North Carolina General Statute § 14-202.1. Aquino was sentenced to a combined term of imprisonment of between 26 and 32 months and mandated to register as a sex offender. The offense date listed on the judgment was January 1, 2007, before he applied for naturalization.
Additionally, the affidavit stated that on August 26, 2009, in Franklin County, Aquino signed and submitted an application for a U.S. passport to the United States Department of State. As proof of citizenship and eligibility, AQUINO presented his fraudulently obtained naturalization certificate.
G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement. Agents with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations and Homeland Security Investigations, assigned to the Document Benefit Fraud Task Force, investigated the case as part of Operation False Haven. Operation False Haven is an ongoing initiative in conjunction with the Department of Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation, designed to identify and prosecute child molesters and other egregious felons who fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship.
Related court documents and information are located on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:20-cr-00041-FL, Case No. 5:20-cv-00277-FL, and Case No. 5:20-mj-01224-JG-1.