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Montvel-Cohen to change 'not guilty' plea in federal court

By Jacob Nakamura

A lawyer for Evan Montvel-Cohen advised federal Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood today that they are in negotiations with the U.S. Attorney, and moved for a change of plea hearing. Montvel-Cohen is a former Guam radio and marketing executive who was charged by the U.S Attorney in March of 2020 with aggravated identity theft. Montvel-Cohen originally pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released from pre-trial confinement. While out on release he tested positive and later admitted to using crystal methamphetamine, also known as "ice."

At today’s hearing, Judge Tydingco-Gatewood granted the request and set his change of plea hearing to 9 a.m., July 30 before S Magistrate Judge Michael J. Bordallo.

The crimes alleged

According to the U.S. Attorney, in a complaint filed March 10, 2020, Mr. Montvel-Cohen in mid-2019 convinced an old friend, Benjamin Myers, to relocate to Guam with his family and work for Monvel-Cohen's company, C2 Social. Mr. Myers agreed to the proposal if his friend would pay off his debts, pay for he and his family's travel and relocation costs, and provided a place to stay on Guam.

The federal defendant allegedly solicited and received Mr. Myers's identifying and financial documents, including copies of his passport and credit card statements, and banking information under the guise of the payment of the debts and the making of travel arrangements. Mr. Myers lived in Florida.

"Eventually the money posted into Myers' account," the complaint reads. "Myers and his family travelled to New York to catch their plane to Guam. At some point, however, Montvel-Cohen's check bounced and the family was stranded in New York."

Myers called off the arrangement some time in late August or early September 2019, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that two months later, on November 11, 2019, Montvel-Cohen began to use Myers's identity to secure a condo at Guam Beachfront Residences from real estate agent Martin Wayne Howard.

The alleged ruse included the use of Mr. Myers's identity in emails, applications, phone conversations, and finally a lease. Montvel-Cohen, the complaint alleges, took possession of unit 906 of the former Tropicana Hotel along San Vitores Road on November 22, 2019.

Mr, Howard discovered the alleged scam in January 2020, and provided documents of it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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