Man in fraud case to serve 14-day imprisonment

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The U.S. District Court for the NMI has imposed a 14-day sentence on a man who pleaded guilty to his involvement in producing fraudulent identification documents. He will be subject to deportation proceedings upon his release from prison.

District court Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona sentenced Margarito Cortez Villafuerte to serve 14 days in prison after he pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to unlawfully produce an identification document.

Following his release from prison, Villafuerte is ordered to submit to a term of supervised release of one year and comply with conditions as adopted by the court.

Aside from his sentence, Manglona also ordered the probation officer to submit Villafuerte’s passport to U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services–Enforcement Removal Office for removal proceedings.

Villafuerte was ordered by the court to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service.

According to court documents, Villafuerte, a 64-year-old Philippine national, first arrived on Saipan in 2009. On or about June 21, 2017, Villafuerte, who had no immigration status, paid somebody else the sum of $150 to obtain a CNMI driver’s license. Four years later, on June 23, 2021, Villafuerte was charged by information with the offense of conspiracy to unlawfully produce an identification document. He entered into a plea agreement on Aug. 31, 2021, where he declared that he fully accepts responsibility for his actions.

Initially, Villafuerte’s lawyer, Steven Pixley, proposed a probation sentence instead of imprisonment. Pixley said a probation sentence is appropriate because pursuant to the plea agreement his client signed, the United States government agreed to recommend that the court impose a sentence no longer than seven days in prison.

In addition, based on the findings of the U.S. Probation Office, a total offense level of 4 and a criminal history category of 1, which Villafuerte falls under, the guideline imprisonment range is zero months to six months.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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