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Press Release

Army Civilian Employee Indicted in San Antonio for Alleged $100 Million Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

SAN ANTONIO – A federal grand jury in San Antonio returned an indictment today charging a San Antonio woman with 10 counts related to a fraud scheme she allegedly conducted while working as a civilian financial program manager at Fort Sam Houston.

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. 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.

Mello is charged with 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. She is scheduled for her initial court appearance Dec. 14 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry J. Bemporad of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. If convicted, Mello faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each fraud charge, up to 10 years in prison for each spending statute charge, and a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge. The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture for the proceeds and property that Mello obtained as a result of the criminal conduct alleged. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation and the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Simmons and Antonio Franco are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated December 7, 2023

Financial Fraud