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Enlisted sailor charged in widening Navy bribery case

 

SAN DIEGO -- An enlisted sailor has been charged in the Navy bribery case in which two officers have already been charged with helping a Singapore businessman secure lucrative contracts to service Navy ships in the Asia-Pacific region.

Petty Officer 1st Class Dan Layug, 27, was arrested Wednesday in San Diego and appeared Thursday before federal Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford, who set bail at $100,000 and required Layug to wear a GPS monitor.

The two officers, Cmdrs. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Jose Luis Sanchez, 41, have pleaded not guilty. The two are accused of receiving money, first-class travel arrangements, entertainment tickets and the service of prostitutes.

Like Layug, the officers were stationed in Japan and were privy to inside  information about the movement of ships. Layug received cash, travel, consumer electronics and an "allowance" of $1,000 a month, according to prosecutors.

Together, Layug and the two officers are charged with leaking information to Leonard Glenn Francis, 49, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Navy ships were redirected to ports where Francis' firm could supply them with a variety of services.

Francis has pleaded not guilty.

Two persons have pleaded guilty: Alex Wisidagama, 40, Francis' cousin and a former executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia; and John Bertrand Beliveau, 44, a onetime senior agent with the Naval Criminal  Investigative Service. Neither has been sentenced.

There are no allegations that the officers, the enlisted sailor, or the NCIS agent knew the bills submitted by Francis' firm were padded or in some cases listed services that were not provided, prosecutors said.

In emails to Wisidagama, Layug said he wanted a camera, an Ipad mini and two cellphones, according to prosecutors. Later he allegedly sent an email to Wisidagama thanking him for a camera: "The camera is awesome bro! Thanks a lot! Been a while since i had a new gadget!"

The bribery scheme led to the U.S. into overpaying more than  $20 million for supplies and services, prosecutors said.

Among the ships that were rerouted at Francis' request were two carriers and  the 7th Fleet command ship Blue Ridge, according to prosecutors.

For more than two decades, Francis' firm supplied water, fuel, food,  garbage and waste removal, tugboats, fenders and other items for Navy ships.  Amid the scandal, the Navy has canceled all contracts with the firm.

In 2010, Navy officials became suspicious that some of the bills submitted by  Francis' firm from Thailand were padded.

 

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com

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