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He stole more than $100 million from the US Army through a fictitious company

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He stole more than $100 million from the US Army through a fictitious company

Janet Mello Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud and Tax Evasion in Army Funds Scam

Janet Yamanaka Mello, a former employee of the United States Army, has pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud and five counts of filing false tax returns in a scam that diverted over $108 million from Army funds. The 57-year-old accepted responsibility for her actions before the US District Court for the Western District of Texas on Wednesday, February 28.

An investigation revealed that Mello used a fictitious company called Child Health and Youth Lifelong Development (CHYLD) to divert funds from the government to her personal accounts. Despite claiming to offer services to military families through a youth development program, the company never provided any real financial assistance.

The scheme was uncovered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2017 when suspicious activities were detected on Mello’s personal tax returns. She and her husband reportedly used the illicitly obtained funds to purchase multiple luxurious properties, vehicles, and high-end fashion items.

Mello’s extravagant purchases include 31 real estate properties, over 80 high-end cars and motorcycles, and luxury items from brands like Coach, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Her lavish lifestyle earned her the nickname “Goddess Gucci.”

Federal authorities have recovered over $18 million from bank accounts linked to Mello and CHYLD, with plans to seize her various properties. While Mello faces a maximum sentence of 125 years in prison, she is expected to receive a reduced sentence as part of a plea deal.

The fraud case involving Mello highlights the importance of closely monitoring government funds and ensuring accountability to prevent misuse and fraud.

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