2 plead guilty in Navy bribery scheme
SAN DIEGO — A Singapore-based contractor pleaded guilty in San Diego Thursday to presiding over a decade-long conspiracy involving “scores” of U.S. Navy officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud and millions of dollars in bribes and gifts — from cash, prostitutes and luxury travel to Cuban cigars, Kobe beef and Spanish suckling pigs.
Leonard Glenn Francis, 50, admitted providing top Navy personnel with the gifts in exchange for classified information about where ships were headed and other sensitive Navy information.
Francis faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced April 3. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Also Thursday, U.S. Navy Capt. Daniel Dusek, 47, was charged — and pleaded guilty to — conspiracy to commit bribery. He is the highest ranking of five current or former Navy officials to plead guilty in the case.
On Jan. 6, Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, 42, pleaded guilty to the bribery scheme, admitting that he tipped Francis off about investigations into GDMA overbillings and briefed him on internal U.S. Navy deliberations.
Two other officials — former NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau and Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug — previously pleaded guilty in the case, as well as former Glenn Defense Marine Asia executives Alex Wisidagama and Edmond Aruffo.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 47, is also charged but has not pleaded guilty.
“It is astounding that Leonard Francis was able to purchase the integrity of Navy officials by offering them meaningless material possessions and the satisfaction of selfish indulgences,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “In sacrificing their honor, these officers helped Francis defraud their country out of tens of millions of dollars. Now they will be held to account.”
Authorities said Francis, a Malaysian national, used the ship and other sensitive information to further his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which provides what’s known as “husbanding” services to Navy ships while they are docked at various ports. Such services include bringing fresh water to the ship, completing basic maintenance jobs and taking away the ship’s trash.
In some cases, Francis’ company was able to unfairly outbid other contracts and in other cases, ships were intentionally re-routed to ports where Francis could provide services, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which said the scheme cost taxpayers more than $20 million.
Francis was arrested in 2013 after he was tricked into coming to San Diego for a business meeting.