NEX employee jailed in Italy
By SANDRA JONTZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 9, 2008
NAPLES, Italy — A former employee of the Navy Exchange in Naples, who was indicted for embezzlement by a U.S. federal grand jury, has been jailed in Italy after eluding capture for 19 months.
Italian police from the Naples suburb of Pozzuoli arrested Eutilia Anne Mallardo in mid-November after tracing her to her mother’s home in Pozzuoli, said Antonio Canta, vice superintendent of the Pozzuoli police. He declined to provide details as to how police tracked her.
Mallardo is in the women’s correctional facility in Pozzuoli awaiting an extradition hearing, Canta said Monday.
A grand jury from the U.S. District Court District of Maine indicted Mallardo on April 25, 2007, on a charge she embezzled "about $312,250 that she obtained by creating fraudulent refunds while working as a clerk at the United States Department of Defense, Navy Exchange, located in Naples, Italy, which she credited to her personal credit card account," according to the one-page federal grand jury indictment.
Mallardo is a 52-year-old Italian-American with American citizenship whose last known U.S. address was in Maine. She is married to an Italian doctor who practices in Pozzuoli, Canta said. She is alleged to have embezzled the money from the Naples Navy Exchange between August 2000 and November 2005, according to the indictment sheet.
Navy Exchange Command declined comment because the case still is classified as under investigation, spokesman Phil Garcia said. "In the interest of avoiding a compromise in the investigation process, there’s not much we can discuss about Ms. Mallardo," he said.
Garcia declined to say how Mallardo was able to make the allegedly fraudulent transfers undetected for so long.
"I can, however, tell you that audits are conducted periodically," Garcia said, but would not say whether Mallardo’s alleged embezzlement was detected during an audit.
He did supply information regarding NEXCOM’s general hiring policy and instructions, which include both a criminal background check and an investigative consumer report on applicants.
Generally, a U.S. citizen charged with crimes against the federal government allegedly committed outside of the United States may be prosecuted either in Washington or in the state of the accused’s last known U.S. residence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark said. No trial date has been set as officials await the extradition results.