A U.S. Navy commander admitted Thursday to accepting cash, prostitutes and other bribes in exchange for giving classified ship schedules to a Malaysian defense contractor at the center of a widespread Navy bribery scandal.
Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 48, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy and bribery. He is the eighth of nine defendants to plead guilty in the scandal.
In his plea agreement, Misiewicz admitted to providing classified Navy ship schedules and other sensitive information to Leonard Glenn Francis – aka “Fat Leonard” – who was the CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).
The plea says Misiewicz used his position in the Navy to help GDMA get military contracts to provide husbanding services, like fuel, tugboats and trash removal, for Navy ships and submarines in various Pacific ports. With the inside information, Francis was able to overbill the U.S. government by more than $20 million.
In exchange, Francis gave Misiewicz cash and luxury travel so the commander and his family could go to the Philippines, Japan, Kuala Lumpur, Cambodia, Singapore and the U.S. Misiewicz also accepted prostitution services on several occasions, the plea deal says.
To keep his actions a secret, Misiewicz and his co-conspirators used clandestine email accounts that they would delete from time to time.
“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 Laura Duffy in a statment. “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.”
Misiewicz faces 20 years in prison at his April 29 sentencing.
Francis himself has pleaded guilty to federal bribery and conspiracy charges, as have six others embroiled in the affair.
Navy Capt. Daniel Dusek admitted to one count of conspiracy of bribery after he was relieved of command on USS Bonhomme Richard.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez accepted a plea deal, in which he said he accepted $100,000 cash, entertainment, travel and prostitutes from Francis for proprietary Navy information.
Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edmond A. Aruffo admitted to his role in the scandal in July 2014. He said he worked for GDMA and used letterhead from several Japanese vendors to send the Navy inflated invoices.
Alex Wisidagama, a GDMA company manager and Francis’ cousin, admitted in court to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.
Senior Navy criminal investigator John Beliveau II said he used his law enforcement training to help Francis avoid detection. Francis paid him with envelopes of cash and travel to Virginia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
Commander of Carrier Strike Group 7 on USS Ronald Reagan Rear Admiral Michael Miller received a letter of censure along with Rear Admiral Terry Kraft, who was commanding officer on the same ship, and Rear Admiral David Pimpo, who once served as supply officer of the aircraft carrier. The letter is seen as a career-ending development for the officers.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Todd Dale Malaki pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery after admitting to taking gifts from GDMA starting in 2006 with a deluxe room at the Grand Hyatt Singapore. He twice accepted envelopes with Singapore dollars equivalent to $1,500 and the services of a prostitute after visiting a karaoke club in Malaysia.
Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug was sentenced to 27 months in prison for accepting cash, travel and a “bucket list” of video games and gadgets from Francis.
Only one defendant accused in the scandal, former Department of Defense civilian employee Paul Simpkins, is awaiting trial. He has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.