Helen N. Aparente, the third defendant in an alleged CW-1 permit scam, has fled the CNMI.
Assistant U.S. attorney Ross Naughton informed U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona on Monday that Aparente has fled to the Philippines.
Naughton disclosed that the U.S. government is currently working to extradite Aparente back to Saipan.
The indictment charged Aparente with four counts of visa fraud.
At the arraignment, Aparente’s co-defendants, Mariano K. Pangelinan and Rosabella P. Cruz, pleaded not guilty of the charges.
Pangelinan was charged with 17 counts of visa fraud, while Cruz with 13 counts of visa fraud and one count of false statement.
Manglona set the jury trial for Dec. 30, 2013.
Manglona also asked why attorney Joseph Horey appeared for Pangelinan when it was attorney David Banes who was appointed as counsel for the defendant.
Horey explained that Banes was currently in a deposition and that he would be appearing in future hearings.
The judge advised that the attorney appointed in the case should be present at the hearings, and that future appointments would require counsel to appear and not be substituted by another attorney in the law firm.
Pangelinan is the alleged primary corporate officer of ARCH International Co. Ltd., which held itself out as a job-placement agency that could help aliens in need of CW-1 permits find employment and obtain CW-1 permits.
Aparente and Cruz were alleged employees of ARCH.
According to the indictment, Pangelinan, Cruz, and Aparente conspired from July 2011 through July 2013 to defraud U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by submitting fake employment contracts for 17 alien workers.