A DEPARTMENT of Public Safety detective, Sgt. Kevin Maratita, said Jin Keun Kim admitted that he took rental payments he collected from RJ Apartments.

Kim, 60, is accused of taking a total amount of $19,825 in rental payments he collected from July to November 2019.

At Kim’s jury trial in Superior Court, Maratita testified that he became involved with the case after a formal complaint was filed by Yunni Cai, vice president of Hyun Corp., which owns and manages RJ Apartments.

Maratita said he showed Kim documents provided by Cai, adding that the defendant admitted signing those documents, which included a confession.

Maratita also testified that Kim provided him a signed separate written statement explaining why the defendant took the money, and his agreement with the victim stating that Kim would pay back the money that he took.

Kim said he took the money because his business was failing.

In his written statement, Kim said he started a solar and construction business on Saipan in 2017 but it failed. He said his landlord knew about his financial problem and helped him get a job as manager of RJ apartments.

“However, it did not solve [my] economic problems,” Kim stated. “So, I used their money. I have to pay back their money, but still I have not yet paid because I did not get any projects or funds, so I’m trying to get another job…. If I work for [another] company I will pay [RJ Apartments] back,” Kim added.

Maratita was the third witness called by Assistant Attorney General Heather Barcinas, who is the prosecuting attorney for the case.

Also taking the witness stand were Yunni Cai, vice president of Hyun Corp., and police detective Myron Laniyo who testified how the complaint was filed with DPS.

In her testimony, Cai, through an interpreter, told the court that she authorized Kim to collect tenant rental payments, and assume managerial duties at RJ Apartments. She said she hired Kim in June 2019.

In November 2019, she found out that Kim was not remitting to the company’s bank account the rental payments he had collected.

She also learned that Kim was collecting advance rental payments from some of the tenants without her knowledge.

Cai said she gave Kim many chances before filing a complaint against him.

She said Kim had made many promises, including a signed promissory note that he would pay the money that he took and how he would pay it.

The prosecution rested its case on Tuesday.

Attorney Anthony Aguon, who represents Kim, told the court his client will testify after his opening statement Wednesday morning.

According to the first amended information filed against the defendant, “between July 2019 and (November) 2019,” he “unlawfully took the property of Hyun Corp., dba RJ Apartments, with intent to permanently deprive the owner of its rights to the property, to wit: U.S. currency, said property having a value of more than two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) and less than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), in violation of 6 CMC § 1601(a) or 1607(a), and made punishable by 6 CMC §§ 1601(b)(2) and 4101(b),” which carries a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both.


Bryan Manabat studied criminal justice at Northern Marianas College. He covers the community, tourism, business, police and court beats.

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