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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Deli owner gets 9-year prison sentence for embezzling seniors' savings

Published 11:35 am, Saturday, May 3, 2014
  • Carmella Jamshidian has been sentenced to nine years in prison on a charge that she stole more than $200,000 from the savings of three elderly Fairfield siblings. Photo: File Photo / Fairfield Citizen

    Carmella Jamshidian has been sentenced to nine years in prison on a charge that she stole more than $200,000 from the savings of three elderly Fairfield siblings.

    Photo: File Photo

 

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A Fairfield deli owner was sentenced to nine years in prison Friday for fleecing three elderly siblings of their savings.

"I have no comment. I was unfairly tried. I don't deserve this," Carmella Jamshidian said as she was led from Bridgeport Superior Court by judicial marshals following the sentencing hearing.

Those protestations of innocence echoed the tearful statements she made earlier to Superior Court Judge John Kavanewsky Jr.

"I stand before you and plead my innocence," she sobbed. "They were not preyed upon by me. I assisted them when they asked for help."

But the judge retorted that the evidence showed Jamshidian stole more than $200,000 from the three Fairfield seniors -- a blind and learning-disabled brother and two sisters -- after overhearing a call they made in 2009 from a phone at a deli she previously owned on Kings Highway Cutoff to a lawyer regarding an inheritance. Most recently, she has owned the Sub Zone on Jennings Road.

"She used the (victims) as her personal ATM and it is clear she still doesn't understand the gravity of what she did," the judge said.

He sentenced her to 14 years, suspended after she serves nine years in prison, followed by five years probation. She will be under house arrest during the first year of her probation.

The judge also refused to release her on an appeal bond. "She remains a financial danger to others," he said.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Howard Stein told the judge the victims had been living in squalor when Jamshidian befriended them. After learning about their inheritance, he said she assisted the victims in putting the money into accounts she controlled and eventually, "She bled them dry," he said.

She withdrew money from their accounts to pay for food for the victims from her deli and took $2,000 a month that she claimed she used to buy rare baseball cards for the brother.

Just two weeks after the jury found Jamshidian guilty of first-degree and second-degree larceny for the crime, another jury in the same courthouse awarded her $141,000 against the city of Bridgeport for injuries she claims she suffered when she fell on a sidewalk there.

Kevin Gumpper, the court-appointed conservator for the three Fairfield victims, said he will ask a judge to turn Jamshidian's civil award over to his clients as restitution.

"It's terrible what she did to my clients and if they can get some redress that would be terrific," Gumpper said. As a result of Jamshidian's theft, he said, the sisters are now living in town-owned housing and the brother is in a group home.

"They have to be supported by the taxpayers of the state of Connecticut," he said.