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Pitt County convicted child molester loses citizenship

Billy Penaranda
Billy Penaranda(NC Sex Offender Registry)
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 4:01 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WITN) - A Pitt County man who was born in Bolivia has had his citizenship taken away for using a fraudulent naturalization certificate to apply for a North Carolina driver’s license.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 39-year-old Billy Penaranda was sentenced to two years probation after a guilty plea to using a fraudulently obtained naturalization certificate. Penaranda was then stripped of his citizenship.

Federal prosecutors say on August 31st, 2009, Penaranda fraudulently got U.S. citizenship and a certificate of naturalization by making false statements under oath. Penaranda was asked, “Have you ever committed a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?” and he answered “no.”

WITN is told Penaranda was convicted of indecent liberties with a child on Nov. 14th, 2012 and sentenced to a term of imprisonment between 1.3 and 1.7 years and ordered to register as a sex offender.

The indictment to which Penaranda pled guilty says he committed the crime between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 29th, 2009. The victim was 12 years old.

Before being arrested, prosecutors say Penaranda gave police a written confession, admitting to molesting and photographing the naked victim multiple times over a nearly two-year period.

More on this case can be found here.

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