21 Mar 2017
- By Bryan Manabat - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
THE U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked the federal court to order the continued detention of three individuals charged with involvement in an illegal recruitment scheme.
The three who were indicted for mail fraud and fraud in labor contracting appeared before District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona for a detention hearing and arraignment on Monday at 3:30 p.m.
They were brought in by U.S. Marshals and were represented by their court appointed legal counsels as well as interpreters.
Defendant Muksedur Rahman was represented by attorney Robert T. Torres; MD. Rafiqul Islam’s counsel was Ben Petersburg representing attorney Bruce Berline; while Zeaur Rahman Dalu was represented by attorney David Banes.
The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Benedetto who filed a separate motion for each defendant, saying that each is a serious flight risk.
He said there is also a serious risk that they will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice or threaten, injure or intimidate or attempt to threaten injure or intimidate prospective witnesses or jurors.
The court should detain the defendants because there exists no condition or combination of conditions of release that will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community, Benedetto added.
He said the court can be assured of the defendants’ appearance in court if they remained detained pending trial.
To support his motion, he filed a memorandum in court that stated that the defendants in the case are neither U.S citizens nor lawful permanent residents; and that there is substantial risk that they will flee in order to avoid a jail sentence and other penalties if convicted for the offenses charged.
Benedetto said the defendants are also less likely to abide by the conditions of release due to the deceptive nature of the charges filed against them.
He submitted to the court excerpts from the report of the investigation on the case, stating that the defendant made threats to hurt the victims here in Saipan and the victims’ families in Bangladesh. The wife of one of the defendants also threatened one of the victims by saying she could accuse the victim of sexually assaulting her, the prosecutor said.
He said they likewise received a screen shot of a Facebook chat message purportedly sent out by defendant Zeaur Rahman Dalu telling one of the victims that “The 10 takhs (1,000,000 Bangladesh takas about $12,500) we got from you we will use to hurt your family.”
Benedetto told the court that they will have the message translated fully and submit it to the court.
The fourth defendant, TBK Auto Care president David Trung Quoc Phan, was released on an unsecured bond.
If found guilty, the three other defendants are facing 20 years of imprisonment for one count of mail fraud which is considered a Class C felony; and five years of imprisonment for each count of fraud in foreign labor contracting.
The defendants, through their lawyers, pled not guilty and waived the reading of their indictments.
Judge Manglona ordered the continuance of the detention hearing to give the defendants’ lawyers an opportunity to respond to the prosecution’s motion.
The detention hearing will resume on March 23, 2017 at 2:30 p.m., and the defendants trial will commence on May 23, 2017.