Navy sailor pleads guilty in bribery scandal

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SAN DIEGO — A U.S. Navy petty officer based in Japan pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court Tuesday to accepting more than $10,000 in cash, consumer electronics and travel expenses from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for classified and internal Navy information.

navy-corruptionPetty Officer First Class Daniel Layug, 27, became the third defendant to plead guilty in the bribery scheme involving Singapore-based defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which for decades provided port services to U.S. Navy ships in the Asia Pacific region.

Layug pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. He was allowed to remain free on bond pending a Sept. 2 sentencing hearing.

“Every service member is entrusted with the enormous responsibility of protecting this country at all costs,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “Because of greed, Daniel Layug fell woefully short of that high calling, and this guilty plea holds him accountable for a painful betrayal.”

According to court documents, GDMA owner and CEO “Fat Leonard” Francis and his cousin, GDMA executive Alex Wisidagama, enlisted the clandestine assistance of Navy personnel — including Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent John Beliveau and Layug — to provide classified ship schedules and other sensitive information about the ongoing criminal investigation.

In total, GDMA allegedly overcharged the Navy under its contracts and submitted bogus invoices for more than $20 million in port services.

In his plea agreement, Layug admitted that he accepted a $1,000 a month allowance from GDMA, plus luxury hotel stays for himself and others in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Konga and Thailand. He also admitted asking GDMA for numerous electronic devices, including an iPad 3, Nikon digital camera, Blackberry, VAIO computer, PSP gaming unit and Wii gaming unit.

According to the plea agreement, Layug worked secretly on behalf of GDMA, using his position as a logistics specialist at a U.S. Navy facility in Yokohama, Japan, to gain access to classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and then provided the information to GDMA’s vice president of global operations.

In return, Layug received envelopes of cash on a regular basis, according to the plea agreement.

Francis was previously charged with conspiring to bribe U.S. Navy officials. Wisidagama pleaded guilty in March to defrauding the Navy.

Misiewicz and Sanchez were charged separately with bribery conspiracies involving GDMA and have pleaded not guilty. Beliveau pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges for regularly tipping off Francis to the status of the government’s investigation into GDMA.

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