Woman Pleads Guilty in Huge Fraud Case

Woman Pleads Guilty in Huge Fraud Case

(RepublicanView.org) – A woman has pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from the US Army. Janet Yamanaka Mello, known as the “Gucci Goddess,” admitted to defrauding the army out of $108 million while employed as a civilian financial manager at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas. The 57-year-old entered a guilty plea at the US District Court for the Western District of Texas after being charged with five counts of mail fraud and five counts of filing a false tax return in December last year.

In 2016, Mello founded the Child Health and Youth Lifelong Development (CHYLD) to provide services to military families and focus “on positive youth development through providing opportunities.” The organization took in millions in government funds but provided no services. Instead, Mello and her husband used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle and purchase several properties in Texas, Colorado, Maryland, Washington, and New Mexico.

The fraudster also bought several expensive cars, including two Aston Martins, a 1966 Ford Mustang, and a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette.

The scam came to light when the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began looking through Mello’s finances after she filed tax returns in 2017, where she disclosed a $483 profit on a revenue of $2,152. The IRS was suspicious and called Army investigators to launch a joint probe.

Despite the charges and guilty verdict, 57-year-old Mello was allowed to retire and keep her full pension. A spokeswoman for the Army’s Installation Management Command said Mello retired during the investigation, and there was nothing they could do to stop her or prevent her from taking her pension because federal law protects her right to do so.

The spokeswoman, who spoke to San Antonio Express-News, noted that in cases of treason, rebellion, or insurrection, pensions can be pulled but added, “There is no similar statutory authority for denying retired pay based on a conviction of other offenses.”

Some government workers expressed disgust that she will keep her pension online, saying it is an example of a dysfunctional civil service.

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