White House: “No Tolerance” for Fraud in Navy Bribery Scandal

The scandal has ensnared eight people, including Navy officers, a senior NCIS investigator and Francis’ own cousin

Emails and text messages entered as evidence in a massive military corruption scandal would have one believe the sharing of classified information between senior naval officials and a Singapore-based military contractor was commonplace.

The contractor, Leonard Francis, 50, of Singapore, even had a nickname shared throughout the fleet – “Fat Leonard.”

On Monday, however, White House spokesman Josh Earnest maintained the type of “quid pro quo” admitted by Francis and five other current or former Navy officials would not be tolerated under the Obama administration.

Earnest said he would not discuss specifics of Francis’ guilty plea submitted Thursday and the guilty plea of a former warship commander the day before because he said the case was still under investigation.

“There is no tolerance in this administration for any waste, fraud or abuse like has been part of the reports in this case,” Earnest said.

Specifics of the crimes can be found in the court documents reported last week by NBC 7.

Francis pleaded guilty Thursday to three charges including conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery and conspiracy to defraud the United States for enlisting senior Navy officials to redirect ships to ports he owned in several countries including Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia.

The plea deal carries with it 25 years to life in prison along with an immediate $35 million forfeiture to reimburse the Navy for the tens of millions of dollars stolen over a decade.

“Fat Leonard” was more than good for it. He and his company GDMA gave the co-conspirators – officials ranging from an NCIS investigator to a battleship commander – millions of dollars in gifts over 10 years beginning in 2004.

Using outside email accounts, Skype, Whats App and Blackberry chat, the naval officials attempted to disguise their communication with GDMA and Francis, prosecutors said.

NBC 7 has been covering the investigation since it was first revealed in September 2013.

Guilty pleas have been entered by Navy Capt. Daniel Dusek, Navy Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edmond A. Aruffo, Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug, senior Navy criminal investigator John Beliveau II and GDMA company manager Alex Wisidagama.

Captain-Select Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, one of the Navy officials accused in the conspiracy, faces two felony counts.

Even with the high-profile cases that came to an end last week, prosecutors say there is no end in sight.

Two other unidentified co-conspirators have yet to be charged by federal prosecutors, according to court documents released Thursday.

One, a Lt. Commander who is currently assigned to NAVSUP in Ventura, California, but who served as a Supply Officer on USS Blue Ridge from 2005 to 2007.

The second is a Singapore woman who has been employed as a U.S. Navy contract specialist for more than 20 years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Pletcher told NBC 7 the investigation would go wherever or to whomever it leads.

“Our investigation is continuing and its gathering momentum,“ Pletcher said.

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