‘Phan not a flight risk, but US still opposes his release’


The U.S. government concedes that businessman David Truong Quoc Phan is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community, but still opposes his request for continued release pending his appeal of his sentence at the Ninth Circuit.

Assistant U.S. attorney James J. Benedetto asserted that Phan has not shown that his appeal would likely result in a reversal, an order for a new trial, and a sentence that does not include imprisonment.

Benedetto also argued that none of the issues that Phan cites in his motion raise a substantial question of law or fact likely to result in a reduced sentence to a term of imprisonment less than the total of the time already served plus the expected duration of the appeal process.

Phan is among three convicted by a federal jury for their participation in a scheme to bring Bangladeshi men to Saipan on promises of jobs and green cards in exchange for cash.

Phan was slapped with an eight-month prison sentence. He appealed his conviction and sentence with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He also requested the U.S. District Court for the NMI to allow his continued release pending the outcome of his appeal.

The U.S. government is appealing the sentence the District Court imposed on Phan.

In opposing Phan’s request for release, Benedetto said they have no idea why Phan is appealing. However, Benedetto said, given Phan’s failure to raise a substantial question of law or fact likely to result in relief, the U.S. government believes the “substantial question” requirement is determinative of defendant’s motion.

The prosecutor said Phan’s arguments were fully briefed in his previous post-trial motions, and all rejected by the District Court.

Benedetto said Phan was convicted of two counts of mail fraud and one count of visa fraud, in addition to three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting.

Benedetto said Phan has not asserted that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of visa fraud or mail fraud.

The prosecutor said the conviction of visa fraud was premised upon documents presented to the jury that had been signed by Phan, which purported to show that codefendant Mohammed Rafiqul Islam had been gainfully employed by Phan in the months preceding submission of Islam’s CW-1 renewal, when in fact, Phan admitted that Islam had never worked for him even for one day.

Benedetto said the testimony of the complaining victims was not necessary to a determination of whether Phan submitted fake paycheck stubs and other records to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in support of Islam’s renewal.

Phan’s co-defendants, Islam and Muksedur Rahman, both welders, were also found guilty.

Rahman was slapped with a 48-month prison term, while Islam was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Islam and Rahman were ordered to pay $188,426 in restitution to the victims.

Defendant Zeaur Rahman Dalu pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time already served.

According to the U.S. government, each of the victims paid over $10,000, but when they arrived on Saipan in April of 2016, they were not given work as promised.

The government named five victims, all Bangladeshi men.

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

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.