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Gilbert man, 2 sons plead guilty in fraud scheme

PHOENIX -- A Gilbert man and his two sons have pleaded guilty to operating an elaborate money order scheme from a Chandler grocery store.

Federal prosecutors say 60-year-old Gjergj Kol Mihilli (Me-HILL-ee), 35-year-old Nikolas Mihilli and 31-year-old Nino Mihilli allegedly issued more than 10,000 fake money orders totaling about $10 million from the Mama Mia Panaderia & Market.

The three was accused of issuing money orders to non-existent customers, depositing them in business accounts and then using the money to pay for the money orders while skimming cash off the top.

The men were indicted in November.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say Gjergj Mihilli pleaded guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft while his sons each pleaded guilty to transactional money laundering.

They are to be sentenced Sept. 23.

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