Man pleads guilty to 2 counts of fraud

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Michael Rosal Benavente has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud related to a scheme to sell land that was not his own and will be sentenced on June 18, 2021.

According to his guilty plea, Benavente is facing a sentence of up to 20 years for each count of fraud and a fine of up to $250,000.

U.S. District Court for the NMI chief judge Ramona Manglona accepted Benavente’s guilty plea and if imprisonment is imposed, Manglona said Benavente will be placed under supervised release immediately after serving the imposed sentence.
The U.S. government will also forfeit any money or property from the offense upon Benavente’s conviction.

Benavente was charged with two counts of wire fraud for selling real estate properties that were not his own, and initially pleaded not guilty. He was released on an unsecured bond with conditions.

According to Benavente’s indictment, between Dec. 22, 2018 and June 7, 2019, Benavente allegedly devised a scheme to defraud individuals to obtain money by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses and representations.

Benavente allegedly provided false and fraudulent documents such as title reports and warranty deeds to individuals for the purpose of inducing financial investments in purported real estate transactions.

One of the examples in the indictment states that the defendant provided an individual with a preliminary title report that showed he had title to a lot, which was false and, in fact, the document was a forgery.

The indictment also referenced another incident on or about May 27, 2019, when Benavente provided another person with a preliminary title report that showed he had title to a lot but the document was also an alleged forgery.

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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