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Guilty Plea on Small-Business Fraud Charges

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A Las Vegas man faces up to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to bilking 390 small business owners of $5.3 million, the FBI said.

Mickey Gines, 41, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In addition to prison, he could be fined up to $250,000 at his June 4 sentencing.

In his plea agreement, Gines admitted that he conspired with others to induce small business owners to pay him for alleged government grants that he never intended to pursue. He operated through companies "under multiple and evolving names, including BFS Enterprises Inc. and Global Business Funding Inc.," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Two others were charged in the same case.

Christine M. Gagnon aka Crystal Waters, 35, of Escanaba, Mich., pleaded guilty in November 2014 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and will be sentenced on March 19.

Gregory Villegas aka Ray Matsui aka Ray Mathis, 35, of Las Vegas, awaits a trial to begin March 16. He is in jail.

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