Muksedur Rahman, Md. Rafiqul Islam and David Trung Quoc Phan Sentenced for Mail Fraud, Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting, and Visa Fraud
SHAWN N. ANDERSON, United States Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, announced that defendants Muksedur Rahman, Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, and David Trung Quoc Phan were sentenced today by designated Senior District Court Judge John C. Coughenour from the Western District of Washington, on two counts of Mail Fraud, three counts of Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting, and one count of Visa Fraud.
Defendant Muksedur Rahman was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release after incarceration, and restitution to the victims in the amount of $188,426.00. Defendant Mohammad Rafiqul Islam was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release after incarceration, and restitution to the victims in the amount of $188,426.00. Defendant David Trung Quoc Phan was sentenced to 8 months in prison, and two years of supervised release after incarceration.
The defendants defrauded Bangladeshi men by promising them good-paying jobs in the United States, as well as ‘Green Cards’. The victims paid over $15,000.00 each, but when they arrived in Saipan in April of 2016, they were not given work as promised. Defendant Mohammad Rafiqul Islam and unindicted co-conspirators in Bangladesh recruited the men, collected large fees from them, and deposited them into the bank accounts of defendants’ family members in Bangladesh. Defendant Muksedur Rahman coordinated the recruitment and employment of the victims from Saipan. A necessary part of the scheme required the purported employer, Defendant David Trung Quoc Phan, to mail fraudulent applications to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to obtain CNMI-only work authorization permits. The victims were also ‘coached’ to lie to U.S. Embassy personnel in Dhaka during their visa interviews; the Defendants told the victims not to admit they had paid any fees for their jobs, upon pain of losing all the money they had already paid.
United States Attorney Shawn N. Anderson released the following statement: “The CNMI has been plagued by illegal recruitment scams for more than 20 years. They are difficult and expensive cases to investigate and prosecute because of the need for qualified interpreters, and because many of the transactions occur overseas, diplomatic channels must be used to obtain that evidence.”
“In this case, the victims sold virtually everything they owned, and borrowed large sums of money in order to raise the money to pay the defendants. They and their families in Bangladesh have suffered substantial financial hardship caused by the defendants’ actions. Such crimes also impact the economy of the CNMI, in that every CW-1 permit approved for a sham employer for a non-existent job represents one less nurse at the Commonwealth Health Center, one less power plant operator for the Commonwealth Utilities Commission, or one less worker for the CNMI economy. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to pursue these cases at every opportunity.”
Part of the evidence in the case consisted of official bank records obtained from the Government of Bangladesh pursuant to a mutual legal assistance letter request (MLAT) prepared by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs (OIA). The case against Defendant Rahman and his co-defendants is the first NMI District case in which foreign evidence has been obtained through the MLAT process.
Special Agents and Task Force Officers from the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys James Benedetto and Eric O’Malley prosecuted the case.