Glass Emporium VP Pleads Guilty to Illegal Immigration-Related Charges;
Insurance Fraud Charges Against Her Dismissed, According to Court
March 15, 2010
Glass Emporium vice president Emma DeGuzman recently pleaded guilty
to charges related to harboring illegal aliens through her work
at the company, according to court documents filed in the case,
and, the remaining charges related to insurance fraud and engaging
conspiracy to commit insurance fraud against her were dismissed.
DeGuzman and company owner Mehrdad "Tony" Hakimian had
been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud; wire fraud, harboring
illegal aliens; obstruction of justice; conspiracy to commit visa
fraud; and visa fraud. (CLICK
HERE for related story.) Hakimian currently is on trial. (CLICK
HERE for related story.) DeGuzman issued her plea just before
the trial was about to begin.DeGuzman has not yet been sentenced.
Under the conspiracy charges, the court had alleged that Hakimian
and Deguzman directed the company's employees to bill insurance
companies "for the cost of more expensive windshields than
knowing that less expensive windshields had
been installed." Likewise, the court had charged the two with
directing employees to also separately charge insurance companies
for mouldings, clips and installation materials, "even when
those costs were included in the cost of the windshields."
On the immigration charges, to which DeGuzman has pleaded guilty,
the court alleged Hakimian and DeGuzman employed both Aldy Antonio,
and his wife, Luvziminda Yago, despite the fact that they were illegal
aliens, but also had advised them to work from home "to avoid
the immigration service from coming to the headquarters and discovering
that they were wrongfully employed by Glass Emporium."
Meanwhile, according to court documents, Hakimian's counsel, William
Osterhoudt of the Law Offices of William L. Osterhoudt, has asked
for the jury to receive instructions advising that the fact that
DeGuzman has invoked the Fifth Amendment and is not willing to testify
on Hakimian's behalf should not reflect negatively on his case.
DeGuzman had been subpoenaed for her testimony "concerning
her knowledge of the moving of boxes of GEMI paperwork to storage
and recycling." (In the details of the obstruction of justice
charges issued in mid-January, the prosecution had alleged that
Hakimian and DeGuzman "did, and did attempt to, corruptly alter,
destroy, mutilate, and conceal documents and records, namely, glass
invoices, glass work orders, and electronically stored invoice records,
with the intent to impair their integrity and availability for use
in an official proceeding.")
"At the time that Ms. DeGuzman pled guilty, she was informed
by the prosecution that if she elected to testify at trial on Mr.
Hakimian's behalf in a manner the government believed inconsistent
with their view of the facts relating to the obstruction of justice
charge, they would seek to have such testimony held against her,"
writes Hakimian's counsel.
Hakimian's counsel says they presumed that she might do this, and
had "earlier requested that the government offer Ms. DeGuzman
immunity so that she could testify," and that this request
Counsel for the defendant claims that DeGuzman has important testimony
about why the documents were moved to storage and recycling, and
that she would testify "that the movement of boxes was innocent
and innocuous; that she personally directed the move; and that she
had decided which boxes must be stores and which should be destroyed
"Finally, she would explain that it was necessary because
the boxes were stacked to the ceiling and crowded the loft space
of [Glass Emporium's] headquarters office, creating an unsafe environment
due to weight of the boxes and fire danger," continues the
Because she has not been granted immunity and has declined to testify,
the defense is asking that the jury be given the following notice
regarding her availability:
Emma DeGuzman is unavailable to the defense as a witness. You
should draw no adverse inference against the defendant based on
Emma DeGuzman's failure to testify.
"We merely seek to inform the jury that Ms. DeGuzman's absence
is not to be held against the defendant," adds Osterhoudt.
Oakland, Calif.-based Glass Emporium also owns Glass Pro and Glass
Masters and has locations throughout the United States.
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