Rahman insists on ‘insufficient evidence’

One of the three men convicted of bringing Bangladeshi men to Saipan on the promises of high-paying jobs and green cards in exchange for cash insists that his convictions were based on insufficient evidence.

Muksedur Rahman, though counsel Robert T. Torres, said it is clear that the evidence presented at trial did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he concocted the fraudulent labor scheme.

No evidence was introduced showing that the jobs given to the complainants were not real jobs, said Torres in Rahman’s reply to the U.S. government’s opposition to his motion for judgment of acquittal and motion for a new trial.

Torres said that Rahman’s co-defendant, David Trung Quoc Phan, advertised for these job positions and fulfilled all posting requirements necessary to obtain the CW-1 permits.

In fact, the complainants lied about their qualifications to Phan, to the U.S. consulate, and to the persons who provided their credentials to Phan, Torres said.

The complainants’ inability to perform the jobs for which they were hired, along with their lies to U.S. consular officials, do not mean that they were defrauded, he said.

He pointed out that the contract period of employment was for one year, and no document mentioned anything about a green card.

He said any conclusion about Rahman’s culpability that rests on money deposited into Rahman’s sister’s account was speculative, because the banking records were untrustworthy.

Torres said there was no evidence that Rahman solicited, recruited, or hired anyone outside the U.S.

That requires a new trial for Rahman, he said.

Assistant U.S. attorney James J. Benedetto pointed out that there was ample evidence for the jury to convict Rahman.

Last Oct. 18, a federal jury found Rahman, a welder, guilty of two counts of mail fraud and three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting.

Rahman’s co-defendant, Phan, was found guilty 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.

A third defendant, Md. Rafiqul Islam, a welder, was found guilty of one count of mail fraud and three counts of fraud in foreign labor contracting. Rahman and Islam are brothers.

They are to be sentenced on March 9, 2018.

Phan’s fiancée, Analyn Nunez, and Rahman’s wife, Shahinur Akter, were acquitted. Another defendant, Zeaur Rahman Dalu, pleaded guilty.

U.S. District Court for the NMI designated Judge John C. Coughenour presided over the trial.

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Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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