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US court dismisses 20 counts in labor-fraud case

THE District Court for the NMI on Tuesday approved the U.S. government’s unopposed motion to dismiss 20 of the several counts of fraud related to recruiting and hiring persons outside the U.S.

In his two-page order, Judge John C. Coughenour dismissed Counts 2, 3, 7, and 9 to 16 against Muksedur Rahman, Rafiqul Islam, Zeaur Rahman Dalu, Rahman’s wife, Shahinur Akter, David Trung Quoc Phan and his girlfriend, Analyn Nunez. The court also dismissed Count 17 against Muksedur Rahman.

Judge Coughenour likewise granted the U.S. government’s motion for leave to amend the charging document and directed the court clerk to terminate the docket number pertaining to it.

The defendants were indicted in March on charges of fraudulent recruitment of alien workers from Bangladesh.

Federal agents arrested Phan, the president of United Brothers Inc. which operates as TBK Auto Care in Lower Base, as well as Islam, Dalu and Rahman while Nunez, a document preparer for United Brothers, surrendered to the authorities, according to her legal counsel, Janet King.

At the pretrial conference last month, attorneys David Banes, Janet King, Ben Petersburg, Robert Torres, Charles P. Reyes Jr. and Steven Pixley appeared for the defendants who pled not guilty to the charges.

In its unopposed motion to dismiss the 20 counts, the U.S. government said it intends to “better streamline its case presentations as well as its opening and closing arguments.”

In their trial brief, acting U.S. Attorney Shawn N. Anderson and Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Benedetto stated that Rahman, Islam, Dalu, Phan, Aketer and Nunez “violated U.S. criminal laws by recruiting and hiring persons outside U.S. for work inside the U.S. by means of fraudulent misrepresentations, using the mail or a private or commercial interstate carrier to carry out their scheme, and procuring or processing immigration documents with knowledge that they had been fraudulently obtained.”

The prosecution said Arlene Hart, who sponsored several of the complaining victims for employment at the request of Rahman, will testify for the U.S. government as a cooperating witness.

In a separate labor-fraud case, Hart, president of the Curtwill Corporation, a manpower agency, pled guilty in May 2017 to counts I and II of the indictment charging her with mail fraud. She will be sentenced on Oct. 6, 2017 at 9 a.m.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/97411-us-court-dismisses-20-counts-in-labor-fraud-case

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