YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Second Navy officer charged in bribery scandal

November 06, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz is one of five people indicted in an international bribery scandal involving U.S. Navy ships in the Asia-Pacific region.
Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz is one of five people indicted in an… (Associated Press )

SAN DIEGO - A second Navy officer was charged Wednesday with accepting bribes to steer lucrative work to a Singapore-based firm that provides services to ships in the Asia-Pacific region.

Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez is the fifth person charged in the scheme, which prosecutors say permitted the maritime services firm to receive far more than $10 million for bills that were either padded or contained services never rendered.

Sanchez, 41, was arrested in Tampa, Fla., on suspicion of accepting luxury travel, $100,000 in cash, and prostitutes in exchange for leaking confidential information about the movement of U.S ships to the owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

Indicted in September were Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent John Beliveau II and the owner of the Singapore firm, Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian national.

A fourth defendant, Alex Wisidagama, 40, a citizen of Singapore, was charged a month after the first three. He was an executive with Francis’ firm. Like Francis, he is being held without bail as a flight risk.

The U.S. attorney will seek to have Sanchez extradited to San Diego. Misiewicz, 46, and Beliveau II, 44, are free on bail, pending a hearing Friday in San Diego federal court.

Sanchez's involvement in the scheme began when he was deputy logistics officer for the Japan-based 7th Fleet and continued when was transferred this year to serve as director of operations for fleet logistics command in Singapore, according to prosecutors.

Francis is accused of providing prostitutes for Sanchez in Singapore, Manila and Kuala Lumpur.

According to prosecutors, Sanchez, while in Kuala Lumpur, emailed Francis with a request for pictures of prostitutes for "motivation," and later, when pictures were available, responded "Yummy...daddy like."

While Sanchez was in Manila, Francis emailed a prostitute: "Hey Love, Jose is in Manila at the Diamond Hotel go and see him he needs some love asap," according to court documents.

Later, the woman emailed Francis, "I'm with him already hehehe," prosecutors said.

Francis' firm provides services such as food, water, fuel, tugboats, fenders, transportation, trash and waste removal and other goods and services to surface ships and submarines in numerous ports.

The two Navy officers allegedly helped direct U.S. ships to ports where the firm was influential. The NCIS agent allegedly warned Francis of an investigation when Navy officials suspected overbilling.

"According to the allegations in this case, a number of officials were willing to sacrifice their integrity and millions of taxpayer dollars for personal gratification," said U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy.


Family of Santa Monica Airport crash victim sues pilot's estate

School board member reelected despite issues with China program

Man who jumped to death from helicopter in Newport Beach identified

Twitter: @LATsandiego

Los Angeles Times Articles