Another worker testifies in labor case

ABU Bakkar Beg, one of the workers who claim to be victims of a foreign labor scam, said he mortgaged his father’s land and took out a loan to pay for the hiring fees demanded by his recruiters.

Beg testified in federal court on Friday against the defendants who were charged with mail fraud and fraud in foreign labor contracting, and misuse of visas and permits.

Charged in court were David Trung Quoc Phan, the company president of United Brothers doing business as TBK Auto Cares, and recruiters Muksedur Rahman, Md. Rafiqul Islam and Zeaur Rahman Dalu.

Rahman’s wife, Shahinur Akter, was charged with aiding and abetting her husband’s fraudulent scheme. She also threatened to falsely report that she had been sexually assaulted by the complaining workers, the prosecution said.

Phan’s girlfriend Analyn Nunez, who prepared United Brothers’ documents, was charged with mail fraud for assisting to mail via U.S. mail fraudulent CW-1 petitions.

On Friday, Beg testified that MD. Rafiqul Islam told him about the opportunity to work in Saipan/America.

Beg said Islam told him in late 2015 about a job opportunity at a hotel that would pay $1,800.

Beg said Islam asked him to pay 1.4 million Bangladeshi taka or about $17,000.

Beg said Islam instructed him to learn how to weld and to pay for the training himself.

Beg told the jury that he did not know the other workers before, and that they met only when they signed their contracts in Bangladesh.

At the U.S. consular office in Bangladesh, Beg said Islam instructed him not to mention the payment he made to get the job.

The prosecution is expected to call two more workers, Abu Alam, and Belayet Hossain, to the stand.

Zeaur Rahman Dalu, who earlier pled guilty, has agreed to testify against his co-defendants as part of the plea deal.

Dalu, who completed his testimony on Friday, said it was him who told the recruits Mohammed Tazizul Islam and Rafiqul Islam about the opportunity to work in the CNMI.

Dalu also testified that it was Muksedur Rahman who asked him if he knew anyone who would like to come to Saipan to work.

Asked by Nunez’s defense counsel, Janet King, if he knew David Trung Quoc Phan, Dalu said, “Who is he?”

Phan’s defense counsel, Steven Pixley, earlier told the court that his client will testify. Nunez will also testify, King said.

Colin Thompson, who represents Shahinur Akter, said Beg’s testimony had no relevance to his client.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric O’Malley and James Benedetto are prosecuting the case while District Court for the NMI Senior Judge John C. Coughenour is presiding over the jury trial.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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