Former DOD employee pleads guilty to defrauding government

Co-workers devised a scheme to access the system, input fraudulent pay adjustments and transfer money to their own bank account

A one-time civilian employee with the US Department of Defence (DOD) pleaded guilty to conspiring in a scheme that defrauded the government of US$700,000.

Lilia Delgadillo, 34, of El Paso, Texas, admitted to misusing a DOD pay-processing computer system to misappropriate the money while she was employed by the Defence Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) at Fort Bliss. She pleaded to one count of wire fraud.

Delgadillo and a co-worker, Saul Granados, devised a scheme to access the system and input fraudulent pay adjustments, which resulted in wire transmissions from DFAS headquarters in Indiana into Delgadillo's bank account in Texas, according to a release from the US Attorney's Office.

Granados pleaded guilty in September to one count of wire fraud for his involvement in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Delgadillo faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of US$250,000 and three years of supervised release, according to the US Attorney's Office. Her sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 28.

This is not the first time the DOD has been defrauded using the exact same system. In June, a former civilian DOD employee pleaded guilty in federal court to working with four co-conspirators to access a government computer to defraud the government of thousands of dollars.

Jesse D. Lane Jr., who was a member of the California Army National Guard, pleaded to one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud, according to a release from the US Attorney's Office.

Lane told the court he and his cohorts were members of the 223rd Finance Detachment, a unit of the California National Guard that processes pay for members of the Army National Guard. According to Lane, between March and August 2005, he accessed a DOD pay-processing computer system and input thousands of dollars in unauthorised government pay and entitlements for himself and four friends. In return, the government said Lane's cohorts kicked back at least half of the money they received to Lane.

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