January 10, 2008
In April 2006, the owners and several employees of the former Four Star Corp. and Stardust Club were arrested and charged with 226 counts of prostitution, immigration fraud, human trafficking, unlawful exploitation of a minor harboring an illegal alien and other offenses. Finally, this week as reported in a Marianas Variety story, the four were sentenced by the Superior Court. They signed a plea agreement with the CNMI government and were convicted for hiring minor girls from the Philippines and forging their names on birth certificates. The sentences were incredibly light. According to the Saipan Tribune:
David M. Atalig and his wife Corazon R. Atalig, owners of Four Star Corp. and Stardust Club, signed a plea agreement with the government.The plea bargain forgave 226 counts of prostitution, human trafficking, unlawful exploitation of a minor, and harboring an illegal alien. Where is the justice for the victims? But then again, in the CNMI the guest workers cannot even serve on a jury even though they make up a significant number, if not a majority, of the adult population. Where is the justice in that?
David Atalig pleaded “no contest” to one count of immigration fraud, while Corazon Atalig pleaded “no contest” to four counts of aiding, abetting, and encouraging illegal entry.
The employees-Nilda Maniego and Priscilla D. Rulloda-pleaded “no contest” to one count of harboring of an illegal alien. Maniego and Rulloda are sisters of Corazon Atalig. The remaining charges against the defendants were dismissed as part of the agreement.
With respect to David Atalig, Wiseman set the sentencing for Feb. 14, 2008. He directed the Office of Adult Probation to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and submit the report one week prior to the sentencing date.
The plea agreement in David Atalig's case provides for a sentence within the range of two to five years in prison subject to a pre-sentence report and hearing. The agreement also provides for a probation period of up to three years.
In Corazon Atalig's case, Wiseman sentenced her to 364 days in prison for all counts, to run concurrently, with two days credit for time already served.
“There is no fine in as much as the parties are resolving a companion civil matter before the Director of Labor which involves substantial compensation or payment by defendants. Furthermore, Star Four Corp. and Stardust Night Club shall cease as ongoing business concerns in that same administrative proceeding,” the judge said. With respect to Maniego and Rulloda, Wiseman suspended the imposition of sentence and placed the two on probation for three years.