Two of the five persons charged in an alleged fake jobs scam were acquitted yesterday.
U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge John C. Coughenour acquitted the two female suspects, Shahinur Akter and Analyn Nunez, in response to the defense’s motion for acquittal.
Coughenour said there was insufficient evidence to convict Akter and Nunez.
He denied, however, the motion for acquittal for TBK Auto Cares owner David Trung Quoc Phan, Muksedur Rahman, and Md. Rafiqul Islam.
Akter is the wife of Rahman. Nunez is the fiancée of Phan. Rahman and Islam are brothers.
Nunez cried soon after hearing her acquittal. King and her legal assistant, Glennis Yumul Gamboa, hugged her to calm her down.
Akter only cried as soon as the judge left the courtroom, apparently as her translator had just explained her acquittal.
Akter was charged with one count of mail fraud and two counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting.
Nunez was charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of fraud and misuse of visas and permits.
The lawyers for the remaining defendants—Phan, Rahman, and Islam—are expected to call their witnesses when the trial resumes Monday.
Phan is charged with two counts of mail fraud, three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting, and one count of fraud and misuse of visas and permits.
Rahman is charged with two counts of mail fraud and three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting.
Islam is charged with one count of mail fraud and three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting.
The U.S. government rested its case yesterday after the testimony of its last witness, Homeland Security Investigations Task Force officer Jesse Dubrall.
Daniel Guidotti, the lawyer for Akter, spoke for his client yesterday, saying that Akter is happy about her acquittal on all charges.
“We believe that the court reached the correct result,” Guidotti added.
Guidotti had argued to the court that there was not enough evidence to convict Akter. The judge agreed.
“So the judge dismissed the case as a matter of law,” Guidotti said.
Nunez’s lawyer, Janet H. King, said that Coughenour’s judgment of acquittal for Nunez “means that the U.S. government failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Ms. Nunez committed any of the acts charged in the indictment.”
“Ms. Nunez is grateful for this day because justice has been served,” King added.
As of press time yesterday, the prosecution did not comment about the acquittal of Akter and Nunez.