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Former Navy contracting supervisor jailed six years in bribes-for-secrets case

A former high-level civilian employee for the U.S. Navy was sentenced to 72 months in prison Friday for taking bribes from a defense contractor based in Singapore.

Paul Simpkins, 62, of Haymarket, Virginia, acted as an inside man for Leonard Glenn Francis — also known as Fat Leonard — the president and CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia or GDMA.

Simpkins was sentenced by federal district judge Janis Sammartino in San Diego.

She also ordered him to pay $450,000 in restitution, forfeit $150,000, and pay a $50,000 fine. 

Simpkins pleaded guilty in June to bribery and conspiracy.

“Paul Simpkins abused his position as a Navy contracting officer to obtain cash, air travel, hotel rooms and prostitutes,” the DOJ’s Leslie Caldwell said. 

Simpkins held several high-level jobs in the federal government, including supervisory contract specialist at the U.S. Navy Regional Contracting Center in Singapore.

From 2006 to 2012, he took bribes from Fat Leonard to steer big U.S. Navy contracts to Francis and GDMA. The bribes included travel and entertainment expenses, the services of prostitutes, and at least $300,000.

Simpkins also gave Francis proprietary U.S. Navy information and intervened on GDMA’s behalf in contract disputes.

Francis, a Malaysian national, has pleaded guilty to bribing scores of U.S. Navy officials with travel, meals, cash, electronics, parties, and prostitutes.

His Singapore-based company provided Navy ships with food, water, cleaning, and other port services in Asia.

Simpkins used an email account belonging to his mistress to send Francis the routing and account information for a bank account belonging to Simpkins’ wife.

In one email, Simpkins asked Francis to provide “some clean, disease free” women.

In another email Simpkins told Francis he would “arrive in Singapore on 11 September.  Whats [sic] the plan to meet up and maybe do some honey’s? [sic]”

So far, sixteen defendants have been charged in the Fat Leonard case. Of those, 11 are current or former U.S. Navy officials.

Ten defendants have pleaded guilty. Six have been sentenced.

The longest sentence was imposed on former NCIS special agent John Beliveau. He was jailed 12 years for giving Francis confidential NCIS reports about investigations into him and his company.

The highest-ranking officer charged in the case is Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau. He pleaded guilty in June to lying to investigators and destroying evidence about his relationship with Francis.

Three other Rear Admirals including the commander of naval forces in Japan retired last year after the Secretary of the Navy censured them for the Fat Leonard scandal.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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