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Captain pleads guilty in Navy’s ‘worst-ever fraud and bribery scandal’

A U.S. Navy captain admitted being bribed with parties and prostitutes while sneaking proprietary information to foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis and his Singapore-based firm, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

Jesus Vasquez Cantu, 59, of Silverdale, Washington, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. He now faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He’s scheduled to be sentenced on November 9.

In his plea agreement, Cantu said Francis paid for lavish hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes many times 2012 and 2013.

In return, Cantu gave Francis proprietary U.S. Navy information and used his influence to help Francis win and keep Navy contracts.

Francis — also known as Fat Leonard — is a 51-year-old Malaysian national. His company provided port services including cleaning, food and fuel to U.S. Navy ships in Asia.

Francis pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego to bribing dozens of Navy officials. He’s waiting to be sentenced.

“The number of U.S. Navy officials who participated in this conspiracy is astounding,” Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson said Friday.

The Defense Department’s Dermot O’Reilly called the Fat Leonard case the “largest fraud and corruption scandal in the U.S. Navy’s history.”

Twenty-eight individuals, including 21 current and former Navy officials and five civilian defendants have been charged so far. Nineteen defendants have pleaded guilty, the DOJ said Friday.

Cantu took bribes from Francis in 2012 and 2013 while serving as deputy commander of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) for the Far East in Singapore.

Before that, he served aboard the USS Blue Ridge as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics for the Seventh Fleet. During that time, Cantu and others accepted from Francis the services of prostitutes and more than $135,000 in meals, entertainment, travel and hotel expenses.

The Seventh Fleet is the biggest fleet in the U.S. Navy, with 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft, and about 40,000 Sailors and Marines. It operates across the Western Pacific.

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Among the other current or retired Navy officials who have pleaded guilty so far in the Fat Leonard fraud and bribery scandal are:

U.S. Navy Admiral Robert Gilbeau, sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and $50,000 in restitution to the Navy

Captain Michael Brooks, sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay a $41,000 fine and $31,000 in restitution to the Navy

Captain Daniel Dusek, sentenced to 46 months in prison and to pay $30,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $70,000 fine

Commander Michael Misiewicz, sentenced to 78 months in prison and fined $100,000 and ordered to pay $95,000 in restitution to the Navy

Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, awaiting sentencing

Commander Bobby Pitts, awaiting sentencing

Commander David Kapaun, awaiting sentencing

Lt. Commander Gentry Debord, sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine and $37,000 in restitution to the Navy.

Lt. Commander Todd Malaki, sentenced to 40 months in prison and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $15,000 fine

Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug, sentenced to 27 months in prison and a $15,000 fine

NCIS Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau, sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay $20 million in restitution, and

Paul Simpkins, a former DOD civilian employee who oversaw contracting in Singapore, sentenced to 72 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $50,000, to forfeit $450,000 of the proceeds of the criminal activity, and to pay $450,000 in restitution to the U.S. Navy.

In addition to Francis, four other Glenn Defense Marine Asia executives have pleaded guilty.

Alex Wisidagama was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $34.8 million in restitution to the Navy.

Neil Peterson and Linda Raja were extradited from Singapore in 2016 and sentenced to 70 months and 46 months in prison, respectively.

Ed Aruffo awaits sentencing.
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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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