U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug was sentenced to 27 months in prison for accepting cash, consumer electronics and travel expenses from foreign defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) in exchange for classified U.S. Navy information. Layug pleaded guilty in 2014.
 
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California, Special Agent in Charge Chris D. Hendrickson of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Western Field Office and Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) made the announcement.
 
In May 2014, the 27-year-old Layug pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and is the first defendant to be sentenced in the bribery scheme involving Singapore-based GDMA, which provided port services to U.S. Navy ships in the Asia Pacific region. The firm bribed U.S. Navy personnel to obtain inside information and thus retain lucrative contracts. According to court documents, GDMA owner and CEO Leonard Francis and other GDMA employees relied on the secret assisted provided by Layug and the other defendants to obtain classified ship schedules and other sensitive Navy information.  In addition, GDMA allegedly overcharged the Navy and submitted bogus invoices for tens of millions of dollars in port services.
 
Layug admitted that he accepted a $1,000 per month from GDMA, plus luxury hotel accommodations for himself and others in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand.  He also received electronic gadgets from GDMA, including an iPad 3.  According to his plea agreement, as a logistics specialist at the Navy base at Yokosuka, Japan, Layug used his position to gain access to classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and provided this information to GDMA. He also provided pricing information from one of GDMA’s competitors.
 
Besides Layug, eight others have been charged. Seven have pleaded guilty. Captain Daniel Dusek and Commander Jose Luis Sanchez were charged with bribery conspiracies involving GDMA and have pleaded guilty.  Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and former Department of Defense civilian Paul Simpkins currently await trial.  On Dec. 17, 2013, NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges for regularly alerting GDMA CEO Francis about the government’s investigation. 
 
Francis is charged with offering money, concert tickets, prostitutes, and gifts to the other defendants. He is alleged to have defrauded the Navy by bribing the defendants to guide ships to harbors where GDMA would provide pier side services that range from fueling, restocking, cleaning, and assisting Navy personnel on port visits. Francis is also alleged to have inflated GDMA charges and then demand kickbacks from subcontractors. GDMA had been providing services to the Navy since 2009. In 2011, GDMA won a contract that officials estimate was worth at least $200 million.
 
At the time the charges were announced, two other high-level Navy officers – a vice admiral and a rear admiral – were placed on leave, and a captain was removed from the command of an assault ship in connection with the investigation, but they have not been charged. With a plea agreement, Layug avoided serving a five year sentence.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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