Criminal Justice News

Thursday, January 28, 2016

U.S. Navy Commander Pleads Guilty to Accepting Cash and Prostitutes in International Bribery Scheme



A U.S. Navy Commander pleaded guilty today to bribery charges, admitting that he accepted cash, gifts, travel expenses, entertainment and the services of prostitutes from foreign defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) in exchange for classified U.S. Navy information, including ship schedules that contained information related to the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile defense operations in the Pacific.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations James B. Burch of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) made the announcement.

Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 48, of San Diego, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan Adler of the Southern District of California to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery.  Sentencing is scheduled for April 29, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the Southern District of California.

“In exchange for luxury vacations, gifts and other expenses, Commander Misiewicz betrayed his oath, the men and women of the U.S. Navy, and American taxpayers by directing lucrative government contracts to his financial patron,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “Working with our law enforcement partners, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division is committed to prosecuting corrupt officials who abuse positions of public trust.”

“Commander Misiewicz provided information to a foreign contractor that, in the wrong hands, could’ve had a devastating impact on national security,” said U.S. Attorney Duffy.  “By giving in to greed, he put his Navy shipmates and fellow Americans in harm’s way.  This guilty plea is an important step in ensuring that all those who violated their duty of trust to the United States in this affair are held accountable.”

“Today's guilty plea of Commander Misiewicz is yet another example of a U.S. Navy officer who sought to enrich himself at the expense of U.S. taxpayers,” said Director Burch.  “This type of reprehensible behavior will not be tolerated.  Those who serve in the U.S. Navy have an obligation to uphold the public's trust or suffer the consequences.  DCIS, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Department of Justice will vigorously pursue this investigation wherever it may lead us.”

“Commander Misiewicz chose personal gain and gratification over sacrifice and service to our country," said Director Traver.  “His actions are antithetical to the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment.  Along with DCIS, we will continue vigorously pursuing all aspects of the investigation.”

According to admissions in his plea agreement, from January 2011 until September 2013, Misiewicz provided classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information to the defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, CEO and owner of Singapore-based GDMA.  GDMA provided port services to U.S. Navy ships and submarines when they arrived at ports throughout the Pacific.

Misiewicz admitted that when he was stationed in Japan, on the USS Mustin and in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he used his position and influence within the U.S. Navy to advance the interests of GDMA, including by providing Francis with classified ship schedules and other proprietary U.S. Navy information.  In return, Misiewicz admitted that Francis gave him cash, paid for luxury travel on at least eight occasions for Misiewicz and his family, provided his wife with a designer handbag and provided Misiewicz with the services of prostitutes on multiple occasions.  Throughout the conspiracy, Misiewicz admitted that he and his conspirators took steps to avoid detection by law enforcement by, among other means, using clandestine email accounts, which they periodically deleted. 

To date, nine individuals have been charged in connection with this scheme; of those, eight have pleaded guilty, including Misiewicz, Captain Daniel Dusek, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau and U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug.  Former Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employee Paul Simpkins awaits trial.  On Jan. 21, 2016, Layug was sentenced to 27 months in prison and a $15,000 fine; the others await sentencing.

The NCIS, the DCIS and the Defense Contract Audit Agency are conducting the ongoing investigation.  Assistant Chief Brian R. Young and Trial Attorney Lawrence Atkinson of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Pletcher of the Southern District of California are prosecuting the case.

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