The prosecution played in court Friday footages of audio and video surveillance that showed alleged transactions between Mohammad Jahangir Miah and Earl Eric Mirano, who are being tried on charges of forging stale CNMI tax refund checks and cashing them in grocery stores.
Assistant U.S. attorney Stephen Leon Guerrero said the footages were taken on Feb. 11, March 15, and March 19, 2012.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona allowed the prosecution to first play the footage without captions and then with captions.
The FBI installed audio and video surveillance devices on Mirano after Mirano allegedly voluntarily came forward to report that he had been cashing fraudulent CNMI tax refund checks in grocery stores at Miah's direction.
In the surveillance taken on Feb. 11, the voice of a man that FBI special agent Haejun Park said was Mirano's could be heard talking with Miah at Miah's house. Miah appeared upset with Mirano. Miah told Mirano that he lied to him and ran away from him for a week.
Mirano was begging to Miah to give him another chance as he only needs grocery items as they don't have food.
“I promise I'll make up to you this time,” Mirano was heard as saying, among other things.
In the second footage taken on March 15, Mirano was seen promising to pay Miah a total of $210.
Seen in the same room was a woman, whom Park identified as Cecilia Blas, Miah's girlfriend. Miah again appeared upset with Mirano.
In the third footage taken on March 19, Miah noticed a device in Mirano's shirt and asked what it was. Mirano said there was nothing in him, but Miah kept insisting that he give him the device. Mirano said the device was for his phone.
“I need to see that! What's that?” Miah repeatedly asked.
Mirano again explained there was nothing to see as it was only a bluetooth device and that Miah was already harassing him.
Miah replied he'd never seen one like it before.
Blas was also seen in the room. Mirano was seen dialing his phone and talking to somebody.
Park, in his affidavit, stated that in the Feb. 11 meeting, Miah discussed but did not identify his source for the checks. Park said Miah indicated that his source of the checks receives a 50-percent cut of the check value.
Park said that Miah was observed using a laptop computer while he and Mirano discussed the check-cashing scheme.
Park said that in the March 15 meeting, Miah was again observed using a laptop while discussing the check-cashing scheme.
During the March 19 meeting, Park said that Miah frisked Mirano for possible recording equipment and found the recording wires hidden underneath the shirt.
Park said that when Mirano texted him that Miah had found the wires, he instructed Mirano to leave Miah's residence immediately.
Park said he and another special agent proceeded to Miah's residence out of fear of possible destruction of evidence related to the suspect's criminal activity.
The trial will resume on Tuesday.