The federal court handed down Thursday a sentence of two years and four months imprisonment against Jordan M. Jucutan, a former U.S. Army Reserve member who was convicted of engaging in a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by falsely claiming he referred soldiers to enlist in the Army Reserve through the Army Reserves Recruiter Assistant Program, or AR-RAP.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Senior Judge Alex R. Munson ordered that Jucutan will be placed on supervised release for three years upon release from prison.
Munson ordered Jucutan to pay $7,000 in restitution and $800 in court assessment fee. Jucutan was ordered, among other things, to perform 50 hours of community service that will be suspended as long as he is gainfully employed.
Munson said the justification of the 28-month imprisonment is that the U.S. government has requested a downward departure of the sentencing guidelines and that he agreed.
The judge said the sentence serves as deterrence to other people predisposed to commit the same crimes.
Munson granted defense attorney Pamela Brown’s request to keep Jucutan at liberty with the same previous bail conditions until the U.S. Bureau of Prison has designated a facility for him. Assistant U.S. attorney Russell H. Lorfing, counsel for the U.S. government, did not object to this request.
Munson ordered Jucutan to contact the U.S. Marshal Service thrice a week to determine if there is already a designated prison facility.
After the sentence was handed down, Jucutan was tearful as he hugged his wife, parents, family members, and friends. Some family members clapped their hands and cried in jubilation after they mistakenly thought that the sentence was only four months in prison.
Munson reminded people to keep the courtroom quiet or else he will send them out. It appeared that the judge was not done as he was only referring to a sentence in one count. Munson then continued announcing the sentence.
On the issue of acceptance of responsibility, Jucutan said he accepts responsibility for what he did nine years ago.
“I’m accepting responsibility, your honor. I want to be an example to my students, friends, my colleagues, my family, especially to my kids,” Jucutan said.
Jucutan said he used the personal information of the U.S. Army Reserve nominees nine years ago, thinking he did not commit any wrongdoing. Jucutan said he only realized that what he did was illegal after the trial.
Munson said he is not convinced that Jucutan accepted responsibility. The judge noted that Jucutan signed a written statement and he is an educated man, among other things.
Lorfing recommended a sentence of 28 months imprisonment or two years and four months, saying the sentencing range is 32 to 36 months imprisonment.
Lorfing said the government believes that Jucutan is a good person who made a bad mistake.
Lorfing noted that this is a very difficult case for him as Jucutan seems to be a likable person and always respectful to him.
The prosecutor said they, however, have an obligation to apply the law objectively.
Lorfing cited the number of people who showed up in court to support Jucutan.
Lorfing said he does not think that this is a crime that Jucutan would repeat.
Lorfing said while it is true that Jucutan did not sell the persons’ personal information for credit card scheme, he used it for personal gain.
Lorfing said Jucutan obstructed justice as he has not accepted responsibility.
“He repeatedly made conflicting statements,” he said.
Brown agreed with the recommendation of 28 months imprisonment, which according to her “is more than adequate.”
“He lost everything. He lost his career,” Brown said.
Brown said the case sends a strong message to the community about respect of the law.
She said the case is widely publicized and that Jucutan was the only person prosecuted despite the fact that many others appear to be involved in the scam.
Last May 26, a federal jury reached a unanimous verdict, finding Jucutan guilty of four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft
The trial started last May 17.
Jucutan was a member of the Army Reserve from November 2006 until he retired in November 2014. He used to be a teacher at the Public School System.
According to the second superseding indictment, using an online portal/website, Jucutan electronically submitted the personal identifiable information for four nominees without the knowledge or consent of the nominees on Aug. 25 and 26, 2007, and on June 6, 2009, and on Oct. 28, 2007.
According to Lorfing, over the period of the charged scheme, Jucutan nominated 38 people—of which only 15 were nominated with the consent of the future soldier.
Lorfing said Jucutan was paid $17,000 in compensation after nine of his nominees signed enlistment papers and shipped to boot camp.
The four wirings charged in the indictment were done when Jucutan submitted the personal information of various nominees through the Document & Packaging Brothers Inc. (Docupak) website.
Docupak was a contractor based in Alabama tasked to administer AR-RAP.
The four aggravated identity theft charges were done when Jucutan possessed various soldiers’ social security number without their permission.
AR-RAP was designed to assist the Army Reserve meet its recruiting goals by offering financial incentives to soldiers known as recruiting assistants. Lorfing said RAs were expected to personally recruit future soldiers that were within their sphere of influence such as friends, family members, classmates, and acquaintances, among others.
Jucutan worked as RA for Docupak. Like other RAs, Jucutan was paid based on the number of people he personally recruited and mentored to join the Army Reserves.
Lorfing said if the future soldier ultimately signed an enlistment contract, the RA who actually recruited that nominee would receive a $1,000 payment through direct deposit into a bank account designated by the RA in his online RA account. The RA would receive an additional $1,000 direct deposit payment if the nominee attended basic training.
The AR-RAP prohibited an RA from nominating a nominee who the RA did not personally recruit. The RA was required to obtain a nominee’s personal information directly from that nominee in order to receive the financial incentive for that nominee, according to Lorfing.
According to the indictment, from Aug. 10, 2007 until Nov. 6, 2009, Jucutan devised a scheme to defraud Docupak, and to obtain money from Docupak by falsely claiming that he personally recruited certain soldiers despite knowing that such representations were false and fraudulent when made.
While volunteering at the recruitment center on Saipan, Jucutan would secretly record future soldiers’ personal identifiable information such as their social security number to Docupak through his online account.
Jucutan would use this personal identifiable information to falsely claim that he was responsible for referring and recruiting these future soldiers to join the Army Reserves, when in fact he did not refer or recruit each soldier he claimed.