Civilian employee at Fort Sam Houston indicted in $100M fraud scheme used money for extravagant lifestyle, feds say

Janet Mello, 57, is facing 10 counts related to the scheme

Gavel (Pixabay)

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman who worked as an Army civilian employee at Fort Sam Houston was indicted for stealing more than $100 million to fund an extravagant lifestyle, according to federal officials.

Janet Yamanaka Mello, 57, was 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, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

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Mello was indicted on Wednesday.

Authorities said Mello worked as a civilian financial program manager at the base.

She stole more than $100 million in Army funds by claiming Child Health and Youth Lifelong Development provided services to military members and their families, therefore receiving money from the Army, a news release states.

Authorities said Child Health and Youth Lifelong Development, which Mello controlled, did not provide services to that community.

Mello is accused of regularly submitting false paperwork that claimed the services and also falsifying the digital signature of one of her supervisors multiple times.

“The indictment alleges that Mello instead used the funds to buy millions of dollars in jewelry, clothing, vehicles, and real estate,” the release states.

Mello is scheduled to make her first court appearance on Dec. 14. If convicted, Mello could face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each fraud charge, a maximum of 10 years for each spending statute charge, and a minimum of two years for the aggravated identity theft charge.

She would also be forced to hand over money and goods she received as a result of the alleged crime.


About the Author:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.