Another US Navy official charged in massive bribery case

Leonard Francis' company was based in Singapore where many U.S. Navy ships made port visits. Photo: US Navy

A current U.S. Navy Commander became the 12th navy official to be charged in a bribery case that involved much of the U.S. 7th Fleet and a foreign defense contractor nicknamed Fat Leonard.

Mario Herrera was charged in a complaint unsealed on February 16, with accepting luxury travel, elaborate dinners and services of prostitutes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Francis in exchange for classified and internal U.S. Navy information.

Herrera participated in a bribery scheme with Francis in which he accepted luxury travel and entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes in exchange for helping to steer lucrative U.S. Navy contracts to Francis and GDMA.

Herrera provided Francis with internal, proprietary U.S. Navy information and intervened on GDMA’s behalf in contract disputes. According the complaint, Herrera directed ships to take alternative routes that benefitted GDMA on two separate occasions, costing the U.S. Navy $3.6 million.

To date, a total of 17 individuals have been charged in connection with the scheme; of those, 13 have pleaded guilty, including: Admiral Robert Gilbeau, Captain Michael Brooks, Commander Bobby Pitts, Captain Daniel Dusek, Commander Michael Misiewicz, Lt. Commander Todd Malaki, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, former NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau and U.S. Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug.

Brooks, Gilbeau and Sanchez await sentencing. In May 2016, Pitts was charged and his case is currently pending. On Jan. 21, 2016, Layug was sentenced to 27 months in prison and to pay a $15,000 fine. On Jan. 29, 2016, Malaki was sentenced to 40 months in prison and to pay $15,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $15,000 fine. On March 25, 2016, Dusek was sentenced to 46 months in prison and to pay $30,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $70,000 fine. On April 29, 2016, Misiewicz was sentenced to 78 months in prison and to pay $95,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $100,000 fine. On Oct. 14, 2016, Beliveau was sentenced to 12 years in prison and to pay $20 million in restitution. On Dec. 2, 2016, Simpkins was sentenced to 72 months in prison, to pay $450,000 in restitution, to forfeit $150,000 and pay a $50,000 fine.

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