2nd contractor charged in Navy fraud, bribery case
By MATTHEW M. BURKE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 18, 2013
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A second high-ranking official from the multi-national defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia has been charged in the fraud and bribery scandal that also has ensnared two Navy officers and a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent.
Alex Wisidagama, GDMA’s general manager for global government contracts, was charged on Oct 11 with defrauding the U.S. government in U.S. District Court in San Diego, according to court documents.
The complaint, filed by the U.S. attorney’s office, states that Wisidagama and others submitted hundreds of false bids, allegedly from competitors, for non-fixed price items like fuel and trash collection to the U.S. Navy. They also allegedly inflated fuel prices and submitted fraudulent invoices for tariffs from non-existent port authorities so they could overcharge the U.S. Navy.
Investigators believe the fraud cost the U.S. government upwards of $2.3 million in Thailand alone, according to the complaint.
GDMA is headquartered in Singapore but also operates out of Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and the United States. It has been providing support services to the U.S. Navy for more than 25 years.
“[GDMA’s Country Manager for Thailand] admitted that she, [GDMA owner and CEO Leonard Glenn Francis], and Wisidagama all knew that the quotes submitted to the Navy were fraudulent,” the complaint states.
Wisidagama is the fourth person charged in the scheme, which allegedly included payoffs of luxury travel, prostitutes, as well as Lady Gaga tickets for U.S. government employees who were party to the fraud or steered business to GDMA.
Also arrested were Navy Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, a captain-select who commanded the USS Mustin and later served as deputy operations officer aboard the USS Blue Ridge for the Yokosuka-based U.S. 7th Fleet, as well as NCIS supervisory agent John Bertrand Beliveau II and GDMA owner Francis.
Misiewicz stands accused of steering Navy assets to international ports with lax oversight, where GDMA would overcharge the Navy for millions of dollars in services. In return, GDMA allegedly offered concert tickets and prostitutes.
Beliveau is accused of accessing sensitive networks once an investigation was launched and illegally supplying Francis with sensitive information.
In addition to the arrests, Navy Capt. Daniel Dusek was relieved of his command aboard the Sasebo-based amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard on Oct. 2 when Navy officials learned he was under investigation in the case. Dusek was Misiewicz’s predecessor aboard the USS Blue Ridge.
He has not been charged with a crime.
Justice Department officials have been unable to provide comment on Dusek’s case due to government furloughs.
The investigation into the scandal is being conducted by the Defense Department’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Justice Department, NCIS and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.
“As part of this investigation, agents are examining whether GDMA and its officers and employees committed fraud in the performance and billing of its contract to perform ship husbanding services to the U.S. Navy; whether things of value were given to various U.S. Navy and other government personnel by GDMA; and whether GDMA, its employees and agents, and U.S. Navy and other government personnel have obstructed justice,” according to the complaint.