A lie on the form to become a U.S. citizen has put a man who has lived in South Florida for more than a decade — including the last two years in Miami-Dade jail — in legal trouble once again.
Sidnei Augusto Venceslau, 45, was accused at the end of December of illegally obtaining his citizenship and misusing evidence in the naturalization process. He now faces a trial in a Miami federal court in which he could be sentenced to a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Venceslau is a native of Brazil who entered the United States legally in 2004 and became a legal resident one year after his arrival, according to documents filed in court.
According to the affidavit, Venceslau lied on the N-400 form that he submitted in May 2008 to initiate the process of citizenship and repeated the lie during several stages of the process.
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Specifically, the lie focused on the answer “no” to question No. 15: “Have you ever committed a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?”
Venceslau confirmed during his interview with an immigration agent in January 2009 that he had “no arrests, no DUI, [or] other offenses,” according to court documents.
The immigration authorities discovered the false statement eight years after Venceslau became a U.S. citizen, when in November 2017 he pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse.
A police investigation revealed that the man had sexually abused a teenager for seven years, from February 2008 to March 2015. The police report of his arrest in August 2015 indicates that one of the incidents occurred during a road trip.
After pleading guilty, Venceslau was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, plus five years of probation.
He was released in December — but not set free. He was immediately transferred to a detention center of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where he is still being held.