Houston Woman Pleads Guilty to Perjury
HOUSTON – Amy Fisher, 36, of Houston, has been convicted of one count of perjury, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Fisher committed perjury on Nov. 17, 2014, during her deposition and trial testimony related to the civil trial of Lipinski et. al. v. Meritage Co., Civil Action No. H-10-CV-605.
The Meritage case was a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case that went to trial in Houston in November 2014. One of the primary issues during trial was whether or not Meritage Corporation had properly classified its sales people as “outside salesmen” who are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime and a minimum wage requirements. Plaintiffs, who were all employed as sales associates for Meritage Corporation, argued the company misclassified them as “outside salesmen” to avoid paying minimum wage and overtime pay.
One of the key issues during the civil trial was determining how much time Meritage sales associates spent in sales activity outside of the sales office. Fisher was the only Meritage sales associate who testified on behalf of the corporation and knew that testimony would benefit her employer.
The deposition and trial, which both occurred on Nov. 17, 2014, focused on what activities Fisher performed outside of her sales office. Fisher gave an oral deposition in the morning and was a trial witness in the afternoon. She was under oath during the deposition and at trial and swore to testify truthfully. However, Fisher has admitted she willfully and knowingly made several false statements regarding her sales activities.
Specifically, she claimed she had left her sales office model home in Katy on Nov. 16, 2014, to escort clients to tour model homes outside the sales office on at least three occasions. She added that her activities on that date were a representation of what she had “typically” done during her 12-year tenure at Meritage.
These statements were false. In fact, she never left the sales office model home at any time on that date to escort any clients. During the trial, Fisher was shown a videotape surveillance of the sales office from that date which confirmed she did not leave and never showed homes to any clients. Confronted with that evidence, she did not recant her false trial testimony or deposition testimony. She was also questioned by the presiding judge regarding the number of times she left her sales office model home on Nov. 16, 2014. She still did not recant her false trial testimony or false deposition testimony.
Fisher admitted today that her false statements were not the result of confusion, mistake or faulty memory. She also admitted that her fabricated testimony was material to the civil proceeding because it had a natural tendency to influence, and was capable of influencing, the decision of the jury.
U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison accepted the plea today and has set sentencing for May 26, 2016, at which time Fisher faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. She was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
This case is being investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Searle and Jay Hileman are prosecuting the case.