Phan questions DOC incarceration; seeks judge’s help


A businessman who is currently serving an eight-month prison term for fraud at the Department of Corrections prison in Susupe has asked the help of U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona to resolve some issues that he has raised about his incarceration.

In a letter dated April 30, 2020, David Trung Quoc Phan said he’s already served at least 161 days of his sentence at the DOC prison in Susupe when he should be serving his sentence at a federal prison facility in the U.S. mainland.

In his letter to Manglona and two letters to Alfred Celis of the U.S. Marshals Service, which were filed in federal court Monday, Phan said the Federal Bureau of Prisons has let him serve his sentence at DOC without a good reason and with not enough information given him. He said DOC offers no program of any kind to educate or correct inmates to re-introduce the prisoners back to society, and that only a selected few gets “assignments” as work.

Phan said there are a number of federal inmates currently serving at DOC, whose concerns are “legitimate, reasonable, relevant, and vital” but have not been addressed within reasonable time.

He asked Manglona to help him require Celis of the U.S. Marshals Service to respond to his letters and address his concerns.

In his letter to Celis dated Feb. 24, 2020, Phan said he believes he is entitled to “good behavior” privileges afforded to all federal prisoners in the U.S. mainland.

Phan said that he met with a DOC officer last Feb. 12, who informed him that DOC has no memorandum of understanding with the Federal Bureau of Prisons on extending federal privileges to federal inmates incarcerated at DOC. Upon his lawyer’s advice, he wrote to Celis for clarification of the privileges. Last April 22, Phan again wrote to Celis to follow up on his concerns.

Phan also disclosed that his mother passed away last March 16 and his family is still waiting for the easing of restrictions to plan and have a memorial service for her. “I hope and I wish I could be there to pay my respect to my mother,” he told Celis in the letter.

In June 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the conviction of Phan over his role in a scheme to bring Bangladeshi men to Saipan on promises of jobs and green cards in exchange for cash. The Ninth Circuit judges said the evidence a trial supported a permissible inference of fraudulent intent.

In October 2017, a federal jury convicted Phan of two counts of mail fraud, three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting, and one count of fraud and misuse of visas and permits.

In March 2018, he was sentenced to eight months in prison. Phan appealed his conviction and sentence to the Ninth Circuit, asking it to reverse his conviction, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to show fraudulent intent.

Phan’s co-defendant, Muksedur Rahman, was also convicted and sentenced to 48 months in prison.
The third defendant, Rafiqul Islam, was also convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

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

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