Flights cancellation affects some proceedings at the federal court


The cancellation of flights between Guam and Saipan has been affecting some criminal proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the NMI.

On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Marshal failed to bring defendant Mariano K. Pangelinan from Guam to the federal court on Saipan for a restitution hearing.

U.S. Marshal Don Hall told the court that Pangelinan is in Guam for his sentence designation.

Because of issues with the Cape Air flights, Hall said they are finding it difficult to bring Pangelinan to Saipan.

Assistant U.S. attorney Ross Naughton argued in support of the U.S. government’s motion to continue the restitution hearing. Court-appointed counsel David Banes joined in on the U.S. government’s motion.

Naughton and Banes both asked that the hearing be continued to mid- or late September.

The lawyers also cited the need for Banes to meet with his client and review the U.S. government’s evidence with respect to restitution.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona disclosed that there are seven individuals (victims) that have been identified by name, amount, and on what basis.

Banes said he would like to go over these names and amounts with Pangelinan.

Looking at possible dates of the next hearing, Manglona asked if it’s possible for Banes to travel to Guam in order to meet Pangelinan.

Banes stated that it was possible, but he was concerned about flight issues. The judge agreed with him.

U.S. probation officer Margarita Wonenberg stated that in a case like this, their officer will normally file a memorandum as to the victims and specific amounts, and that she anticipates the memorandum will be filed by Sept. 16, 2014.

After hearing from both counsels, Manglona reset the restitution hearing to Sept. 23, 2014.

Pangelinan, 71, a job-placement agency owner, was sentenced to six months in prison in May after pleading guilty to charges that he conspired with two of his then employees in filing petitions for CNMI-Only Transitional Worker permits (CW1) for some aliens that fraudulently named the company as the workers’ employer.

The indictment charged Pangelinan, Rosabella P. Cruz, and Helen N. Aparente with one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and to defraud the U.S.

In addition, Pangelinan was charged with 17 counts of visa fraud, Cruz with 13 counts of visa fraud and one count of false statement, and Aparente with four counts of visa fraud.

Pangelinan signed a plea deal with the U.S. government and pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and to defraud the U.S.

Pangelinan was 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.

Cruz and Aparente 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.

Aparente has fled to the Philippines. In March, Cruz pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud and to defraud the United States.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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