Crime & Courts

Charlotte man stripped of citizenship for lying on naturalization form

A Charlotte man’s citizenship was revoked this week because he lied on his naturalization application about never committing a crime.

Wilson Rene Cagua-Anzules, 34, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. to leave the country on or before April 8.

Cagua-Anzules pleaded guilty in July to making false and misleading statements during the application process to become a U.S. citizen.

Cagua-Anzules was born in Ecuador in 1982 and entered the U.S. in 1999 as a lawful permanent resident, court records show.

In June 2010, he filed an application for naturalization and answered “No” on the application form’s question, “Have you ever committed a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?”

In February 2011, his naturalization application was approved after an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer. He received his certificate of naturalization in March 2011.

In 2012, Cagua-Anzules pleaded guilty in Mecklenburg County Superior Court to taking indecent liberties with a child. He was sentenced to at least 15 months in prison.

Court records show that in his state court proceedings, Cagua-Anzules admitted committing the crime in August 2010. The crime occurred during his naturalization process, but he failed to reveal that on his naturalization application form and to the Citizenship and Immigration Services officer.

“Today, a federal judge stripped the U.S. citizenship of a man who did not deserve such privilege,” U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said in a statement. “Cagua-Anzules violated our immigration laws and compromised the integrity of our naturalization proceedings.”

Rose said the United States “has always been a welcoming country to honest, law-abiding foreign nationals in search of freedom, prosperity and the pursuit of the American dream.

“But make no mistake that we will prosecute those who try to cheat their way into an American citizenship,” Rose said. “Liars and cheats need not apply.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak