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Woman Accused Of Stealing $103 Million From Army Bought 31 Homes And 78 Vehicles

Handcuffs Laying on One Hundred Dollar Bills
Handcuffs Laying on One Hundred Dollar Bills

A civilian employee was recently charged with stealing $103 million from her employer, the United States Army, then using the money to buy 31 homes and 78 vehicles.

The scam allegedly perpetrated by the employee, Janet Yamanaka Mello, 57, apparently caught the attention of IRS investigators when she was suspected of possibly cheating on her taxes.

Go figure.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas, Mello, from San Antonio, was charged with “10 counts related to a fraud scheme she allegedly conducted while working as a civilian financial program manager at Fort Sam Houston.”

Those charges include five counts of mail fraud, four counts of engaging in a monetary transaction over $10,000 using criminally derived proceeds, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

“According to court documents, Janet Yamanaka Mello, 57, allegedly stole more than $100 million in Army funds by regularly submitting fraudulent paperwork that indicated an entity she controlled, Child Health and Youth Lifelong Development (CHYLD), was entitled to receive funds from the Army,” a Department of Justice press release reads.

“Mello claimed that CHYLD provided services to military members and their families, when, in reality, CHYLD did not provide any services. The indictment alleges that Mello instead used the funds to buy millions of dollars in jewelry, clothing, vehicles, and real estate. Additionally, Mello is alleged to have falsified the digital signature of one of her supervisors on multiple occasions.”

The San Antonio Express-News reports that Mello reported that her company, CHYLD, earned a profit of $483 on revenue of $2,152 in 2017. After 2017, she didn’t file any income tax returns for CHYLD.

Meanwhile, a forfeiture lawsuit filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Antonio Franco Jr. in federal court claims his office discovered more than $18 million in bank accounts tied to Mello.

In 2022, her pay was $129,996, yet she still, according to the Express-News, “went on globe-trotting trips; dined at high-end restaurants; bought expensive jewelry, designer clothing and accessories; and amassed a collection of vintage and high-performance motorcycles and cars. She also bought millions of dollars worth of real estate, including several luxury condos.”

Among her many purchases were 31 different real estate properties in Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington. She also bought 78 vehicles including, the New York Post reports, “a fleet of motorbikes which included 16 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, five Triumphs, four Ducatis, two BMWs and a 1955 Ferrari Fratelli 165 Racer.”

All in all, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) ended up making more than 40 payments to CHYLD totaling $103 million.


“According to DFAS, the normal process for the distribution of funds requires Mello’s supervisor to submit a memo to DFAS indicating an entity or potential vendor is approved to receive grant funds and lists the source of those funds,” prosecutor Franco wrote in the forfeiture lawsuit. “On all of the memos submitted by Mello’s supervisor wherein CHYLD was listed as the recipient of the funds, Mello was listed as the person to whom DFAS should direct any questions about payment authorization.”

So she basically was allowed to approve all of the payments to herself… herself.

The post Woman Accused Of Stealing $103 Million From Army Bought 31 Homes And 78 Vehicles appeared first on BroBible.


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