Woman allegedly bilked husband's family

March 22, 2009 at 5:23 PM
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SAN DIEGO, March 22 (UPI) -- A Southern California woman claiming to be an heiress to a European fortune bilked thousands of dollars from her husband's family, officials say.

Gigi Nizzia and Michael Laughead used Laughead's family to support their lavish lifestyle that included rental of a $15,000-a-month condominium in San Diego, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.

The newspaper said Nizzia and Laughead are in prison for more than four years. She pleaded guilty to state felony charges charges of theft from an elder, embezzlement, burglary, credit card fraud and forgery.

Laughead, 50, is already serving a federal sentence after pleading guilty a year ago to unrelated child pornography charges. He now will be sentenced Friday in San Diego Superior Court after pleading guilty to a forgery charge for passing a bad check for $38,000.

Nizzia, 43, had claimed to be the illegitimate child of a Rothschild, the niece of a Rothschild or the daughter of Madame Claude, who ran a call-girl ring in the 1960s and 1970s for the rich and powerful. She has also said she has millions tied up in a French court.

"She's a con artist," said Debra Laughead, Michael Laughead's sister. "She's good, she's very good at what she does."

The family said they went to the police after learning Nizzia had taken them for more than $100,000, the newspaper said.

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