Jucutan’s motion to suppress confession, statements denied

Jury trial of former US Army Reserve member to commence today in federal court


U.S. District Court for the NMI Senior Judge Alex R. Munson yesterday denied Jordan M. Jucutan’s motion to suppress his confession and all prior statements made in March 2015 when he was interrogated by agents from the U.S. Army Reserve Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Munson said he denies the motion after having viewed all the exhibits submitted by the parties, including three videos totaling 47 minutes from the interview of Jucutan in Saipan by federal law enforcement agents on March 5, 2015.

In a one-page order, Munson said his memorandum decision will follow.

The senior judge heard the motion last Wednesday and Thursday. Jucutan, a teacher and a former member of the U.S. Army Reserve, testified along with his wife, Danica, at his motion hearing on Thursday.

After the hearing, Munson placed the matter under advisement.

Jucutan stated in his declaration that agents from the Army Reserve CID and FBI interrogated him and subjected him to polygraph test without advising him of his constitutional rights.

Defense counsel Pamela Brown Blackburn asked the court to suppress Jucutan’s statement to Army Reserve CID investigators on March 31, 2015, as well as all prior statements made during CIB and FBI interrogation at the FBI office on Saipan on March 5, 2015 due to violation of his U.S. and NMI constitutional rights as guaranteed under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

An indictment charged Jucutan with four counts of wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft. The defendant pleaded not guilty.

The jury trial will commence today, Tuesday, in federal court.

According to assistant U.S. attorney Russell Lorfing in court documents, the evidence will show that Jucutan, a former member of the Army Reserve, engaged in a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by falsely claiming he referred soldiers to enlist in the Reserve through the Army Reserves Recruiter Assistant Program.

Lorfing said over the period of the charged scheme, Jucutan nominated 38 people—of which only 15 were nominated with the consent of the future soldier.

The prosecutor said the defendant was paid $17,000 in compensation after nine of his nominees signed enlistment papers and shipped to boot camp.

He said 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.

Lorfing said the four aggravated identity theft charges were done when defendant possessed various soldiers’ social security number without their permission.

According to the indictment, in September 2005, the United States Army Reserve Command located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, entered into a contract with Docupak located in Alabama, to administer a program called the Army Reserve Recruiting Assistance Program (AR-RAP).

The AR-RAP was designed to offer monetary incentives in the form of recruiting referral bonuses to Army Reserve soldiers, known as recruiter assistants, to recruit other individuals to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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