Woman Accused of Defrauding the Army Allowed To Retire With Benefits

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(ConservativeHub.com) – Janet Yamanaka Mello, who has been accused of stealing from the U.S. Army over $100 million, has received full military retirement benefits despite the ongoing probe into her alleged fraud scheme which purportedly went on for six years.

Mello allegedly started a shell company, which she used to funnel taxpayer money into her personal accounts. The money that she is accused of stealing was used on clothes, jewelry vehicles, and even real estate. However, a representative from the Army reportedly told the San Antonio Express-News that due to federal law limitations, the woman was allowed to receive her full civil service benefits package despite the probe. 

Army’s Installation Management Command spokesperson noted in an email that the company did not have the necessary authority to make any changes to the woman’s retirement package. The email further noted that as per 5 U.S. Code Section 8312, an individual could be denied an annuity or retirement pay because of the service they have rendered, if the individual was involved in insurrection, treason, or any other such offense. The spokesperson said that there was no statutory authority currently in place that would deny her pay based on the conviction. 

Mello, who had served as a civilian financial program manager at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas was tasked with determining which organizations were eligible to receive the 4-H Military Partnership Grant. The grant was created to support youth development for children who were connected to the military. 

Prosecutors have alleged that Mello started Child Health and Youth Lifelong Development, a nonprofit in December 2016, which she then used to direct money from the grant to a UPS store mailbox she had rented. The money was then deposited into her personal bank account. 

The World Tribune reported that Mello could end up with a 142-year-prison sentence for her crimes.

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