Sex, spies and Lady Gaga are all part of a massive overbilling and bribery scheme buffeting the U.S. Navy, which has led to the arrest of two high-ranking naval officers and the foreign CEO of a defense contracting firm.
An anonymous Navy official confirmed to Reuters the cancellation of over $200 million in contracts with Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia on Monday, after the contractor was caught regularly overcharging the U.S. Navy with the help of a naval commander and a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agent. The company has now been excluded from pursuing further contracts with any part of the federal government.
Leonard Francis, the Malaysian CEO of Glenn Defense Marine, allegedly bribed Navy Commander Michael Misiewicz with paid travel, Lady Gaga concert tickets and prostitutes — the married father of four reportedly “liked Japanese women” — in return for information on classified naval movements and the steering of U.S. ships to ports where the company could easily overcharge the Navy.
“Take care gents, thank you for the best leave (w/o kids that is) ever!” Misiewicz wrote to Francis and other Glenn Defense Marine executives after a paid trip to Cambodia in June 2011.
The Washington Post reports that Glenn Defense Marine, whose job is to service and provision Navy ships at Asian Pacific ports, regularly overbilled the U.S. government for the last 25 years. Investigators are still measuring the extent of the damage, but the few examples included in court records cost the government $10 million.
After naval investigators finally caught on to the scheme in 2011, Francis solicited the help of NCIS agent John Beliveau to stay one step ahead of the investigation. Like Misiewicz, Francis provided Beliveau free travel and the company of escorts in return for access to reports from NCIS databases.
“You give whores more money than me ; )” Beliveau jokingly emailed Francis in 2012, seeking more kickbacks from the CEO. “Don’t get too busy that you forget your friends . . . I can be your best friend or worst enemy.”
“You are a sore Bitch and I have not forgotten you Bro,” Francis replied. “How do I send you a gift?”
Federal agents arrested all three individuals last month, luring Francis from Singapore to San Diego with the promise of a business meeting with Navy officials. Misiewicz was arrested in Colorado Springs and is now confined to home detention, while Beliveau was detained at a military base in Washington DC.
Navy officials also removed Captain Daniel Dusek as commander of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in early October, saying he was under investigation for possible participation in the scheme.
The high-profile nature of the accused — Misiewicz was in charge of naval logistics for the Pacific Rim and Beliveau headed an NCIS office in Quantico, Virginia — has shocked current and former Navy officials. “Allegations of bribery and kickbacks involving naval officers, contracting personnel and NCIS agents are unheard of,” retired Admiral Gary Roughead told The Washington Post.
If convicted for conspiracy to commit bribery, each defendant would face a maximum of five years in prison.
More indictments are likely as naval investigators assess the full extent of overbilling and bribery. Court documents reference additional Navy officers, as yet unnamed, who also accepted kickbacks from Francis.
“I think this is just the opening,” Francis’ lawyer told The Washington Post.
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