Navy commander charged with accepting cash, prostitutes

Posted by James Rosen on November 6, 2013 

The USS Mustin, shown above with a Seahawk helicopter hovering above its flight deck during a refueling, is one of many Navy ships serviced in Asia and California by a Singapore-based company charged with bribing Navy officers.



A U.S. Navy officer appeared in federal court in Florida on Wednesday after his arrest on bribery charges of accepting prostitutes, luxury travel and $100,000 in cash payments from a major Asian defense contractor in exchange for classified Navy information.

The Justice Department said Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, 41, is the third senior Navy official to face charges in a bribery case tied to Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a Singapore-based Pentagon contractor that services and supplies Navy ships in California and across Asia. Its CEO, Leonard Glenn Francis, was arrested Sept. 16 in San Diego.

Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44, were charged separately in connection with bribery allegations.

"As described in the corruption charges unsealed today, senior officials with the United States Navy abused their trusted positions as leaders in our armed forces by peddling favorable treatment -- and even classified government information -- for their personal benefit," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman.

Sanchez received cash payments totaling $100,000, luxury trips and sessions with prostitutes in exchange for giving Francis sensitive Navy information and recommending his company to Pentagon colleagues, according to the criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

In a related case, Francis and one of his firm's executives, Alex Wisidagama, have been charged with participating in a scheme to overbill the Navy by submitting phony invoices for millions of dollars in services provided in ports throughout Southeast Asia, the Justice Department said.

Beliveau, the NSIS special agent, allegedly provided Francis with reports of investigations into his firm's billing practices.

Sanchez and Francis communicated regularly via email and Facebook, according to the criminal complaint. Sanchez called Francis "Lion King" and "Boss," while Francis called Sanchez "brudda."

Francis allegedly hired female escorts for Sanchez and his friends on multiple occasions.

In one email to a prostitute, Francis wrote, "Hey Love Jose is in Manila at the DIAMOND Hotel go and see him he needs some love asap," according to the complaint.

In another email exchange, Francis and Sanchez discussed a forthcoming pleasure trip to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with Navy friends, the complaint said.

When Sanchez requested prostitutes for "motivation," Francis replied: "J, got it we will hook up after the FLAG dinner, will arrange a next for you guys and some birds [women]," according to the criminal complaint.

In a business deal arranged between Francis and Sanchez, the USS Mustin purchased fuel from GDMA during a port call in Laem Chabang, Thailand, paying more than $1 million -- more than twice as much as the fuel should have cost, the complain said.

The case is based on a joint investigation by NCIS, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Contract Audit Agency and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Royal Thai Police and Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau provided assistance, the Justice Department said.






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