Man who lied to CBP officers out on supervised release

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The man who pleaded guilty to lying to U.S. Customs and Border Protection so he could enter the CNMI last month is now out on supervised release after being sentenced to time served.

At the sentencing hearing last Monday, District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona sentenced Seongil Lee, also known as Nasaro Lee, to time served after pleading guilty to lying to U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry of Saipan last month.

Lee was initially supposed to undergo sentencing proceedings on Nov. 24 but his hearing was rescheduled to last Monday.

Lee, who remains out of custody, shall now submit to a term of supervised release of one year and comply with conditions as adopted by the court.

In addition, Lee must pay a special assessment fee of $100 immediately after sentencing.

Lee’s passport will be surrendered to the Enforcement Removal Office by the U.S. Probation Office.

Lee was represented by court-appointed attorney Bruce Berline, while U.S. Assistant Attorney Garth Backe appeared for the federal government.

According to court documents, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed the criminal complaint against Lee after he presented a South Korean passport in the name of “Nasaro Lee” and lied to CBP officers at the Saipan airport last Oct. 16.

The complaint stated that Department of Homeland Security records showed that CBP denied Lee’s entry into Los Angeles on April 5, 2010, based on an interview with CBP where Lee admitted to a controlled substance conviction in Japan. Lee also admitted to serving five years and eight months of imprisonment for trafficking a controlled substance into Japan.

On May 21, 2019, Lee submitted an Electronic System for Travel Authorization application through the DHS website. However, because Lee’s ESTA application failed to disclose that he was a convicted felon, the application was denied.

Then, on Oct. 1, 2021, an ESTA application was submitted using the name “Nasaro Lee,” that also failed to disclose Seongil Lee’s prior felony conviction. The ESTA application under “Nasaro Lee” was approved on Oct. 1, 2021, and he was admitted to Saipan, according to DHS’ system.

On Oct. 16, Lee presented a South Korean passport in the name of “Nasaro Lee” at the Saipan airport with a different date of birth and also presented his fingerprints to CBP.

The complaint noted that the fingerprints obtained from Seongil Lee’s previous encounters and Nasaro Lee matched.

In addition, after reviewing images taken by CBP of Lee back in 2010 and comparing it to the image taken of Nasaro Lee last Oct. 16, ICE claims they are the same individual.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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