(HorizonPost.com) – A civilian employee with the US Army who was charged with stealing over $100 million was permitted to retire with full benefits, the New York Post reported.
Janet Yamanaka Mello, 57, of San Antonio, Texas, was indicted in December for allegedly submitting false paperwork to steal more than $100 million in US Army funds. During the investigation, Mello retired from her job and, as by law, will receive her full retirement package.
Unlike those who work in the private sector, the law protects the retirement benefits of federal civil servants, even if they break the law.
A spokeswoman for the Army told the San Antonio Express-News that there was nothing to stop Mello from receiving her retirement. Under US Code Section 8312, a civil servant can only be denied retirement if convicted of treason, insurrection, rebellion, or similar offenses. Under the law, there is no authority to deny retirement to civil servants who are charged or convicted of other offenses like fraud or embezzlement.
Mello’s attorney Albert Flores told the Express-News that his client was entitled to her retirement because she “earned it.” Flores said Mello’s retirement had nothing to do with the charges against her, which he said would be resolved quickly.
According to Flores, Mello has been cooperating with federal authorities in turning over the assets she acquired through the stolen funds, which includes the purchase of over 30 homes, as well as jewelry and luxury cars.
Mello was employed at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston as a civilian financial program manager making $130,000 a year. In 2016, she created a bogus company called Child Health and Youth Lifelong Development which she used to embezzle funds from the Army.
Mello’s suspicious company was flagged by the Internal Revenue Service after she included it in her 2017 tax returns.
Mello’s retirement plan is through the Federal Employee Retirement Service. It includes the basic benefit plan, along with a savings plan and Social Security benefits.
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