Crime boss’ mum facing jail time for helping launder gang’s cash

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The loved ones of crime kingpin George Marrogi have pleaded guilty to their roles in a large-scale money laundering syndicate which tried to disguise funds from his Notorious Crime Family operation.

Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard Marrogi’s late sister Meshilin funnelled big sums of money into the personal bank accounts of the family’s matriarch Madlin Enwiya, 56, and the crime boss’ girlfriend Antonietta Mannella.

Madlin Enwiya (left), son Jesse Marrogi and late daughter Meshilin Marrogi.

Enwiya had $77,000 in illegitimate proceeds deposited into her account as sham wages in 27 deposits in 2021. Mannella, 30, was sent $110,000 in just three days in April the same year.

The court heard it appeared Meshilin Marrogi, who died unexpectedly in 2021, had been directing who received what money and for how long it remained in their bank accounts.

Defence lawyer Michael Kelly, for Enwiya, said while some of the money was spent on general expenses, a large amount was gambled away at the pokies after her daughter’s death.

Meshilin’s grave was broken into in July 2023 as part of Melbourne’s underworld war, with thieves attempting to steal her body.

Clockwise from top left: Meshilin Marrogi’s crypt and memorial at Preston General Cemetery; with brother George Marrogi; and stills from CCTV footage of the break-in at the cemetery on July 30.

The plan was allegedly to film the mutilation of her corpse and send it to George Marrogi in jail as part of a revenge plot.

Kelly said his client now lived in grief and fear.

“She struggles with a sense of grief and loss for her daughter’s passing,” he said.

“The media reported, even just this week, there are people who wish harm towards members of her family, if not her family entirely, and it’s a highly stressful state for Ms Enwiya to find herself in.

George Marrogi’s partner Antonietta Mannella (left) and late sister, Meshilin.Credit: Instagram

“She now spends her days caring for her 94-year-old mother, making candles and visits the grave almost daily.”

Enwiya appeared in court via video link from an undisclosed location, blowing her nose with a tissue throughout the proceedings.

The prosecution submitted she should be jailed for her role in the offending, but her lawyer urged Magistrate Kieran Gilligan to instead place her on a good behaviour bond as she had no prior criminal history.

Kelly said his client’s house was also the subject of a forfeiture order, with uncertainty remaining about her future living situation.

“This has been a huge investigation,” Gilligan said.

The court heard in April 2021 that Mannella was in a relationship with George Marrogi, who was directing the NCF’s operations while being behind bars for murder.

At the same time Mannella was working as Meshilin Marrogi’s personal assistant.

Over less than a week, $110,000 was put into Mannella’s personal accounts and later withdrawn, as the proceeds of crime were moved between her boyfriend and the key facilitator of the laundering operation.

These cash movements, the court heard, had been directed by Meshilin Marrogi.

Defence lawyer Sam Tovey said his client had turned a blind eye to the dubious requests from her employer as she didn’t want to lose their friendship.

He said Mannella only realised the extent of the money and assets involved when she became the executor of the late Meshilin Marrogi’s will.

On Thursday, Enwiya and Mannella each pleaded guilty to a single charge of dealing in money or property reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime.

Mannella appeared in court via video link from Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, where she is serving a 13-year jail term for drug-related offending.

She is now held largely in solitary confinement and is classified as one of the most high-security prisoners at the jail.

Enwiya and Mannella will be sentenced next week.

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