Glass Emporium Jury Trial Delayed; Now Scheduled for January 25, 2010; Charges Range from Insurance Fraud to Harboring of Illegal Aliens
December 7, 2009

The jury trial of Glass Emporium owner Mehrdad "Tony" Hakimian and vice president Emma Deguzman has been postponed until January 25, 2010. The trial was originally scheduled for September, but had been postponed until December-and was to begin today in the U.S. District court for the Northern District of California.

Hakimian and Deguzman were indicted early this year and are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and harboring illegal aliens while working together at Glass Emporium, which also owns Glass Pro and Glass Masters and has locations throughout the United States.

Under the conspiracy charges, the court alleges that Hakimian and Deguzman directed the company's employees to bill insurance companies "for the cost of more expensive windshields than those installed … knowing that less expensive windshields had been installed." Likewise, the court charges 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."

Hakimian and Deguzman also are charged with directing two specific employees, Aldy Antonio and Bobby Guinto, in these efforts, and with advising Antonio to work from home and to log into the company's system as Deguzman, to prevent the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) from finding out that Antonio was a citizen of the Philippines and was employed illegally by the company, according to the indictment issued against them.

The court also alleges that from January 2005 to July 2005, the two helped to harbor another alleged illegal alien, "Luzviminda Y."
Though Deguzman had motioned in November that her trial be held separately from Hakimian's "based upon an alleged risk of prejudice because of the amount of evidence against co-defendant Hakimian," that motion was denied in late-November. Hakimian also had supported this motion, filing a statement with the court advising that he and his counsel had not yet decided whether he would testify at his own trial, and that the separation of the two trials would permit him to testify at Deguzman's even if he did not testify at his own.

"I believe I have evidence to offer that would be favorable to Ms. Deguzman on the issue of her guilt or innocence on the pending charges," wrote Hakimian in a statement filed on November 20.

The jury trial will begin at 9 a.m. on January 25, and is expected to last approximately two weeks.

The charges against Hakimian and Deguzman arose from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and were brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

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