A former executive of a Singapore-based defense contracting firm was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison Friday for his role in defrauding the U.S. Navy of $34 million for ship husbanding services.
Alex Wisidagama, 42, a Singapore national, was the global manager for government contracts of Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
He was sentenced by federal district court judge Janis Sammartino in San Diego.
Judge Sammartino also ordered Wisidagama to pay $34.8 million in restitution to the U.S. Navy.
In March 2014, Wisidagama pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims for payment. He faced up to 10 years in prison.
Wisidagama was the third defendant sentenced in the fraud.
Glenn Defense had U.S. government contracts to provide port services for Navy ships in the Asia-Pacific region.
Glenn Defense CEO Leonard Glenn Francis, 51 — also known as Fat Leonard — allegedly bribed U.S. Navy personnel for classified information about ship movements and schedules. The company then over-billed the Navy for port services including provisions and fuel.
“Wisidagama admitted that he and his conspirators created false invoices purporting to show that [Glenn Defense] paid more to purchase fuel than was actually the case, which allowed [the company] to build undisclosed markups into the prices at which it supplied fuel to the U.S. Navy,” the DOJ said.
For example, in October 2011, Glenn Defense charged the Navy $2.7 million to service the USS Mustin during a port visit to Thailand; $1.6 million of the charges were fraudulent.
The fraud caused more $34 million in total losses to the U.S. Navy, the DOJ said.
Ten individuals have been charged in the case. Nine of them have pleaded guilty, including Lieutenant Commander Todd Dale Malaki, Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, Captain Daniel Dusek, NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, and U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug.
Malaki was sentenced in January to 40 months in prison for giving classified information to Glenn Defense in exchange for cash, hotel expenses, and the services of a prostitute.
Layug was sentenced in January to 27 months in prison. He took $1,000 a month and consumer electronics from Glenn Defense, plus luxury hotel stays for himself and others in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Layug — a logistics specialist at a U.S. Navy facility in Yokosuka, Japan — passed classified U.S. Navy ship schedules to Glenn Defense.
The company allegedly used the schedules to manipulate U.S. Navy ports of call to where it operated. It then overcharged for its services and submitted bogus invoices.
The other defendants who have pleaded guilty are waiting to be sentenced.
Former Department of Defense civilian employee Paul Simpkins is waiting for his trial.
Three rear admirals including the commander of naval forces in Japan announced their retirements in early 2015 after the secretary of the Navy censured them for the bribery scandal.
In January 2015, Francis reportedly changed his plea to guilty in an appearance in federal court in San Diego. He has been held without bail since his arrest in California in September 2013. The Malaysian national was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.