JANUARY 7, 2015 — A commander in the U.S. Navy pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in the Glenn Marine scandal yesterday, while a second U.S. Navy officer was indicted on related bribery charges by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of California.
Jose Luis Sanchez, 42, an active duty U.S. Navy Officer stationed in San Diego, California, is one of seven defendants charged – and the fifth to plead guilty – in the corruption probe involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contractor based in Singapore that serviced U.S. Navy ships and submarines throughout the Pacific. Sanchez pleaded guilty to bribery and bribery conspiracy before U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Bartick of the Southern District of California. A sentencing hearing was scheduled for March 27, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino.
In the related case, an indictment was returned against U.S. Navy Captain-Select Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 47, of San Diego, California, charging him with a bribery conspiracy and seven counts of bribery. According to allegations in the indictment, from at least as early as July 2011 until September 2013, Misiewicz provided classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information to GDMA CEO Leonard Glenn Francis and used his position and influence within the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA. In return Francis allegedly gave him things of value such as cash, travel and entertainment expenses, and the services of prostitutes.
According to his plea agreement, from April 2008 to April 2013, Sanchez held various logistical positions with the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet in Asia. Sanchez admitted that, beginning in September 2009, he entered into a bribery scheme with Leonard Glenn Francis, the CEO of GDMA, in which Sanchez provided classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information to Francis and used his position and influence within the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA. In return, Francis gave him things of value such as cash, travel and entertainment expenses, and the services of prostitutes. Sanchez admitted that this bribery scheme continued until September 2013.
Francis was charged in a complaint unsealed on Nov. 6, 2013, with conspiring to commit bribery; that charge remains pending.
In his plea agreement, Sanchez admitted to seven specific instances in which he provided Francis with classified U.S. Navy ship and submarine schedules. He also admitted using his position and influence with the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA and Francis on various occasions. Further, Sanchez admitted that he tipped Francis off about investigations into GDMA overbillings and briefed Francis on internal U.S. Navy deliberations. Sanchez further admitted that, in exchange for this information, Francis provided him with cash, entertainment and stays at high-end hotels. For example, in May 2012, Francis paid for Sanchez to stay five nights at the Shangri-La, a luxury hotel in Singapore, and, two months later, Francis paid for Sanchez's travel from Asia to the United States, at a cost of over $7,500. Additionally, Francis arranged and paid for the services of prostitutes for Sanchez while Sanchez was in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia.
"Commander Sanchez sold out his command and country for cash bribes, luxury hotel rooms, and the services of prostitutes," said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division,. "After today's guilty plea, instead of free stays at the Shangri-La hotel, Sanchez is facing many nights in federal prison. The Department of Justice's Criminal Division is committed to prosecuting those who abuse positions of public trust for personal enrichment at the expense of national security and the American taxpayers."
In addition to Sanchez, two other U.S. Navy officials – former NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau and Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug – have pleaded guilty in connection with this investigation.Two former GDMA executives, Alex Wisidagama and Edmond Aruffo, have likewise pleaded guilty.
"During the course of the investigation into this criminal enterprise, investigators have compiled voluminous evidence identifying multiple persons of interest, generating numerous leads, and establishing and corroborating connections," said Director Andrew L. Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). "NCIS and our law enforcement partners are committed to seeing this massive fraud and bribery investigation through to its conclusion, so that those responsible are held accountable."
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by NCIS, DCIS and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.