U.S. Navy Petty Officer Based in Japan Pleads Guilty in International Bribery Scandal
U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug pleaded guilty in the Southern District of California today to accepting more than $10,000 in cash, consumer electronics and travel expenses from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for classified and internal Navy information.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California, Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Deputy Inspector General for Investigations James B. Burch of the U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General made the announcement.
Layug, 27, entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. He is the sixth defendant charged – and the third to plead guilty – in the alleged bribery scheme involving Singapore-based defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), which provided port services to U.S. Navy ships in the Asia Pacific region.
“Today, U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug admitted that he swapped classified U.S. Navy information for cash, luxury travel perks and electronic gadgets from a defense contractor,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General O’Neil. “In taking these under-the-table bribes, Layug put his own financial interests above those of the Navy and the country he vowed to serve. The Criminal Division, with our law enforcement partners, is committed to holding responsible those who were part of this massive fraud and bribery scheme that cost the U.S. Navy more than $20 million.”
“Every service member is entrusted with the enormous responsibility of protecting this country at all costs,” said U.S. Attorney Duffy. “Because of greed, Daniel Layug fell woefully short of that high calling, and this guilty plea holds him accountable for a painful betrayal.”
“The guilty plea of U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug is part of an ongoing effort by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and its law enforcement partners to bring to justice individuals who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of U.S. taxpayers,” said Deputy Inspector General Burch. “While the conduct of the vast majority of service members is beyond reproach, Defense Criminal Investigative Service will vigorously pursue individuals who betray the trust bestowed upon them.”
“Petty Officer Layug sold sensitive Navy information for monetary gain,” said NCIS Director Traver. “In doing so, he compromised the integrity of his position and the safety of his shipmates. NCIS will continue to work with DCIS and the U.S. Attorney's Office in investigating and prosecuting these crimes to the fullest extent possible.”
According to allegations in court documents, GDMA owner and CEO Leonard Glenn Francis and his cousin, GDMA executive Alex Wisidigama, enlisted the clandestine assistance of Navy personnel – including Layug, Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent John Beliveau – to provide classified ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information in exchange for cash, travel expenses, and consumer electronics. GDMA allegedly overcharged the Navy under its contracts and submitted bogus invoices for more than $20 million in port services.
Court records state that Layug worked secretly on behalf of GDMA, using his position as a logistics specialist at a U.S. Navy facility in Yokosuka, Japan, to gain access to classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and then provided this information to GDMA’s vice president of global operations. Layug admitted he also provided pricing information from one of GDMA’s competitors.
In return, according to the plea agreement, GDMA gave Layug envelopes of cash on a regular basis. Layug admitted that he accepted a $1,000 monthly allowance from GDMA. On May 21, 2012, GDMA’s vice president of global operations instructed a GDMA accountant that “at the end of each month, we will be providing an allowance to Mr. Dan Layug. Total of US $1,000. You may pay him the equivalent in Yen. He will come by the office at the end of each month to see you.” Layug also admitted that he received luxury hotel stays for himself and others in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand.
Further according to the plea agreement, Layug asked GDMA for consumer electronics. In an email on March 9, 2012, Layug asked the vice president of global operations, “What are the chances of getting the new iPad 3? Please let me know.” In the plea agreement, Layug admitted that GDMA then provided him with an iPad 3.
In another email exchange on May 28, 2013, Layug asked the vice president of global operations for a “bucket list” of items including a high end camera, an iPhone5 cellular phone, a Samsung S4 cellular phone, and an iPad Mini. Shortly after sending his “bucket list” to the vice president of global operations, Layug stated in an email that “the camera is awesome bro! Thanks a lot! Been a while since I had a new gadget!”
Francis was previously charged with conspiring to bribe U.S. Navy officials. Wisidagama pleaded guilty on March 18, 2014, to defrauding the U.S. Navy.
Two other senior Navy officials – Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, 41 – have been charged separately with bribery conspiracies involving GDMA. On Dec. 17, 2013, NCIS Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges for regularly tipping off Francis to the status of the government’s investigation into GDMA.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by NCIS, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.
The case is being prosecuted by Director of Procurement Fraud Catherine Votaw and Trial Attorneys Brian Young and Wade Weems of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Robert Huie of the Southern District of California.
Those with information relating to fraud, corruption or waste in government contracting should contact the NCIS anonymous tip line at www.ncis.navy.mil, the DOD Hotline at www.dodig.mil/hotline , or call (800) 424-9098.