Navy Commander Pleads Guilty to Accepting Cash and Prostitutes in International Bribery Scheme
For Further Information, Contact: Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Pletcher (619) 546-9714
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – January 28, 2016
SAN DIEGO, CA – U.S. Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz pleaded guilty to bribery charges in federal court today, admitting that he gave classified ship schedules - including those that contained information related to the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile defense operations in the Pacific - to a foreign defense contractor in exchange for cash, gifts, travel expenses, entertainment and the services of prostitutes.
Misiewicz, 48, who was indicted last January by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of California, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan Adler to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 29, 2016 at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino.
According to admissions in his plea agreement, from January 2011 until September 2013, Misiewicz provided classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information to the defense contractor, Leonard Glenn Francis, CEO and owner of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia. GDMA provided husbanding services such as tugboats, fuel, and trash removal services for U.S. Navy ships and submarines when they arrived at ports throughout the Pacific.
In his plea agreement, Misiewicz admitted that he used his position and influence within the U.S. Navy to advance the interests GDMA, including by providing Francis with classified ship schedules and other proprietary U.S. Navy information, and that in return, Francis gave him cash, paid for luxury travel on at least eight occasions for Misiewicz, his mother, brother and children to the Philippines, Japan, Kuala Lumpur, Cambodia, Singapore and the United States, provided his wife with a designer handbag, and plied Misiewicz with the services of prostitutes on multiple occasions. Throughout the conspiracy, Misiewicz admitted, he and his conspirators took steps to avoid detection by law enforcement by, among other means, using clandestine email accounts, which they periodically deleted.
“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. “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.”
“In exchange for luxury vacations, gifts and other expenses, Commander Misiewicz betrayed his oath, the men and women of the U.S. Navy, and American taxpayers by directing lucrative government contracts to his financial patron,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell. “Working with our law enforcement partners, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division is committed to prosecuting corrupt officials who abuse positions of public trust.”
“Today's guilty plea of Commander Misiewicz is yet another example of a U.S. Navy officer who sought to enrich himself at the expense of U.S. taxpayers,” said DCIS Director James B. Burch, Director. “This type of reprehensible behavior will not be tolerated. Those who serve in the U.S. Navy have an obligation to uphold the public's trust or suffer the consequences. DCIS, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the Department of Justice will vigorously pursue this investigation wherever it may lead us.”
“Commander Misiewicz chose personal gain and gratification over sacrifice and service to our country. His actions are antithetical to the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment," said NCIS Director Andrew Traver. “Along with DCIS, we will continue vigorously pursuing all aspects of the investigation.”
So far, nine people have been charged; of those, eight have pleaded guilty, including Misiewicz, Captain Daniel Dusek, Commander Jose Sanchez, NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau and U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug; as well as GDMA’s Francis and GDMA employee Alex Wisidigama. Former Department of Defense civilian employee Paul Simpkins awaits trial. Layug was sentenced last week to 27 months in prison and a $15,000 fine; the others await sentencing.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by NCIS, DCIS and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Pletcher of the Southern District of California and Trial Attorneys Brian R. Young and Lawrence Atkinson of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Those with information relating to fraud, corruption or waste in government contracting should contact the NCIS anonymous tip line at www.ncis.navy.mil or the DOD Hotline at www.dodig.mil/hotline, or call (800) 424-9098.
DEFENDANT Case Number: 13-CR-4287
Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz 48 San Diego, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Commit Bribery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371
Maximum Penalty: 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine,
Bribery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201
Maximum Penalty: 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine
Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Defense Contract Audit Agency