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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Deli owner convicted of stealing more than $200K from senior siblings

Published 6:35 am, Friday, March 21, 2014
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A Fairfield deli owner was convicted Thursday of fleecing three elderly siblings of more than $200,000 from their savings.

Carmella Jamshidian claimed she used the money to help the victims -- including $5,000 of their money to purchase vintage baseball cards for the brother who is blind -- but a jury of three men and three woman at Bridgeport Superior Court saw it differently. The jury found the 54-year-old Trumbull woman guilty of one count of first-degree larceny and three counts of second-degree larceny after three hours of deliberation.

"This verdict should send a strong message that financial crimes that exploit the elderly or infirm will be vigorously prosecuted by this office," said State's Attorney John Smriga.

Jamshidian's daughter sobbed in the back of the courtroom as the verdict was announced, but the defendant showed no emotion. She declined comment as she was taken away by judicial marshals.

Jamshidian faces up to 50 years in prison when she is sentenced May 2 by Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky Jr.

Jamshidian, who owns the Sub Zone on Jennings Road, befriended the three Fairfield seniors -- a blind and learning disabled brother and two sisters -- after overhearing a call they made from a phone at a deli she formerly owned off Kings Highway Cutoff to a lawyer regarding an inheritance, according to police Detective Jason Takacs.

"The siblings inherited a substantial amount of money from a wealthy cousin," Takacs said. "It should have supported them for the rest of their lives." But Jamshidian was able, by acting as a friend, to gain access to their newly opened bank account, and used the money for her own purposes, police said.

A bank employee noticed that "money was flying out of the account," Takacs said, and because there was a conservatorship in place, contacted the Probate Court. Judge Daniel Caruso then put a freeze on the account and contacted police.

"It was an astounding number of checks," Takacs said. "In a one-year period there were 373 checks drawn on their account. Out of the 373 checks, 356 were written to (Jamshidian), the deli or to cash." The checks made out to cash were endorsed by Jamshidian.

In total, police said Jamshidian stole $218,408 from the siblings.