WASHINGTON – Four members of the California Army National Guard pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to their embezzlement of money from the U.S. Army, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division announced today.
The defendants, Jennifer Anjakos of Chula Vista, Calif., Lomeli Chavez of Oceanside, Calif., and Derryl Hollier and Luis Lopez of Los Angeles, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles. Each defendant faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and supervised release following their incarceration. As part of their plea agreements, the defendants have agreed to cooperate with the government’s ongoing investigation. Sentencing has been set for January 29, 2007.
The defendants were members of the 223rd Finance Detachment, a unit of the California National Guard that processes pay for Army National Guard members, and were deployed together to Iraq from March 2004 until February 2005, when they returned to Compton, Calif. Beginning in March 2005, and continuing through December 2005, a co-conspirator accessed a Department of Defense pay-processing computer system and inputted over $340,000 in unauthorized pay and entitlements for himself and the defendants. In return, Anjakos, Chavez, Hollier and Lopez kicked back at least $150,000 of the money they received to the co-conspirator, who in turn laundered those funds through various domestic bank accounts.
These cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys James A. Crowell IV and John P. Pearson of the Public Integrity Section, headed by Acting Section Chief Edward C. Nucci of the Criminal Division. These cases are being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigation Division, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. The prosecution has received substantial assistance from the Army Audit Agency.