Frances Quichocho testifies in racketeering trial
Frances Quichocho took the witness stand yesterday in the ongoing jury trial in federal court of businesswoman Jung Ka Kim’s racketeering lawsuit against her and her husband attorney Ramon K. Quichocho, Quichocho’s law firm, and their company. The Quichochos have also filed counterclaims against Kim.
Frances will resume her testimony today, Tuesday, but only after their rebuttal expert witness, Guam attorney Jacqueline Taitano Terlaje, completes her testimony.
Reps. Christopher D. Leon Guerrero (Cov-Saipan) and Janet Maratita (Ind-Saipan) also testified yesterday for the Quichochos. Leon Guerrero was hired by the Quichochos as an expert witness for financial crime investigation, while Maratita owns a house in Dandan that the Quichochos previously rented.
At the start of her testimony, attorney Michael Dotts, counsel for the Quichocho couple, showed in court several family photos, many showing Ramon Quichocho and their daughter in different events and places.
Frances recounted how she met Kim when they moved to Kim’s leased building in San Jose in March 2007.
“She was very friendly to me,” said Frances, adding that they helped each other decorate the law office and apartment unit.
She said she formed the company Karissa LLC on Nov. 21, 2007, to assist in documents handling for Kim’s many companies.
Frances said that by the end of March 2008, she and Kim had become closer and that Kim was like a sister to her husband, Ramon Quichocho.
Frances said she and Kim talked about her going into the poker business so in March 2008 she bought from Kim’s company, Pacific Saipan, poker machines worth $7,600 for Tan Dingo LLC.
Tan Dingo, she said, was formed by her husband’s uncle, Joaquin Atalig, and was originally intended as a massage parlor.
She said she paid for the poker machines in cash at the time as she was not into banking due to what happened to Bank of Saipan, which went into receivership.
Frances said she was a member of Tan Dingo and that she bought the machines as representative of Tan Dingo.
She said in May and June 2008, Kim paid for the licenses of the eight machines at $12,000 each per year.
Frances also talked about how Kim badly needed a new bank account; Kim borrowing her car to monitor the movement of her former husband; and Kim paying $25,000 cash bail for the temporary release of her former husband.
Rep. Leon Guerrero, a former police officer, was accepted by the court as an expert on financial crime investigations. When the Quichochos hired him as an expert witness, Leon Guerrero was not yet elected and at that time was operating as a private detective.
The parties, however, agreed that Leon Guerrero’s testimony will be limited only to his findings about indications of fraud.
In his report filed in court, Leon Guerrero said that he reached two opinions.
First, he said, Kim was using a series of corporate entities that she in fact controlled to hide assets from her ex-husband, the CNMI government, and others.
Second, he said, Kim was using other individuals to accomplish the same purposes of concealment as the corporate entities.
On questioning by Kim’s counsel, Robert T. Torres, Leon Guerrero agreed with Torres that based on documents from November 2008 until December 2011 when Latte Stone Poker in Rota closed down, there was a gross of $691,000 and that only $339,000 was deposited into the company’s bank account.
Leon Guerrero said he had no information that the remaining amount went to Kim.
When asked who received the money from Latte Stone, Leon Guerrero replied, “Of course, the person who operated the business”—Frances Quichocho.
Kim earlier testified that the Quichochos hijacked her company, Tan Dingo, that the Quichochos sold her out. She also testified that she put up Latte Stone company under Frances’ name at Ramon Quichocho’s advice.
Sherly Cruz, a former housemaid of the Quichochos, also testified yesterday for the Quichochos. She said, among other things, that the couple paid her salary through checks from Latte Stone, but that she never asked why the company was paying her.
Latte Stone is a company that used to operate the Latte Stone Poker in Rota. Its ownership is being disputed by the Quichochos and Kim.
Cruz also testified that on Feb. 25, 2014, while the trial was ongoing in federal court, she told Kim that attorney Michael Dotts, counsel for the Quichochos, sent her a subpoena to testify in court.
Cruz said she told Kim that she does not know anything and that she’s scared to testify. Cruz said Kim told her to hide in Managaha if she wants to avoid the subpoena.