Former Supervisory Contracting Officer Arrested in Navy Bribery Scandal

A former senior federal contracting officer was arrested this morning for conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with his alleged role in a scheme to steer contracts and benefits to Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contracting firm headquartered in Singapore.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Director Andrew L. Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Deputy Inspector General of Investigations James B. Burch of the Department of Defense (DCIS) made the announcement.

“Today’s arrest in this ongoing investigation demonstrates our continued resolve to root out all of the corrupt officials involved in this bribery scheme,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “As alleged, Paul Simpkins misused his position as a contracting officer at the U.S. Navy to obtain bribes of cash, air travel, hotel rooms, and prostitutes, and his actions tarnish the reputation earned by the vast majority of U.S. Navy officers and enlisted and civilian personnel.”

“With the arrest of Paul Simpkins, who was recently among the Defense Department’s high ranking civilians we have uncovered yet another tentacle of this pervasive bribery scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Duffy.  “The more we learn about the extent of the greed and corruption, the more determined we are to eviscerate it.”

“As we’ve mentioned previously, the GDMA investigation is far from over,” said Director Traver.  “NCIS will follow the evidence wherever it leads, to bring to justice those who were involved in perpetrating this massive fraud on the Department of the Navy and the American taxpayer.  Active leads remain and NCIS will stay on the case until our work is done.”

“As the filing of today’s Criminal Complaint and subsequent arrest of Paul Simpkins shows, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and its law enforcement partners will continue to identify and investigate those individuals who seek to defraud the U.S. taxpayer,” said Deputy Inspector General of Investigations Burch.  “Any individual, regardless of position, who allowed Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. to prosper at the expense of the American taxpayer, will be brought to justice.”

Paul Simpkins, 60, of Haymarket, Virginia, is the latest individual to be arrested in connection with a corruption probe involving the U.S. Navy, GDMA, and its owner, Leonard Glenn Francis.  At this morning’s hearing, United States Magistrate Judge Jones of the Eastern District of Virginia ordered Simpkins to be detained pending a bond hearing set for Feb. 4, 2015.  To date, seven individuals, including Francis, and GDMA have entered guilty pleas as part of the investigation.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed today, Simpkins held several manager-level contracting positions throughout the federal government, including Supervisory Contract Special at the U.S. Navy Regional Contracting Center in Singapore from April 2005 through June 2007, and manager in the Department of Defense’s Office of Small Business Programs from December 2007 to August 2012.  The complaint alleges that between May 2006 and September 2012, Simpkins accepted several hundred thousand dollars in cash and wire transfers, travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes.  In return, Simpkins allegedly helped steer lucrative U.S. Navy contracts to Francis and GDMA, advocated for and advanced the interests of GDMA in contract disputes, and assisted in preventing GDMA’s competitors from receiving U.S. Navy business.

The complaint specifically alleges that, beginning in early 2006, Simpkins and Francis held a series of meetings at a hotel in Singapore in which Francis agreed to provide Simpkins with things of value in return for help in steering lucrative ship husbanding contracts to GDMA.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that Francis paid Simpkins by hand-delivering over $150,000 in cash and by making several wire transfers to a bank account held in the name of Simpkins’s wife at the time.  To conceal the true nature of the wire transfers, Simpkins allegedly used an email account belonging to his mistress to advise Francis of the routing and account information of the bank account belonging to his wife.

In return for the things of value, Simpkins allegedly used his influence within the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA, including by helping GDMA to secure lucrative ship husbanding contracts to service U.S. Navy vessels in Thailand and the Philippines.  In addition, Simpkins allegedly interceded on GDMA’s behalf in contract disputes with the U.S. Navy.  The complaint specifically alleges that in 2006, Simpkins’s subordinate recommended that GDMA’s husbanding contract in Thailand not be extended due to “many exceedingly high cost” items.  Simpkins allegedly overruled his subordinate and extended GDMA’s contract.

In another example, Simpkins allegedly instructed U.S. Navy officials in Hong Kong to discontinue the use of meters that monitored the volume of liquid waste that GDMA removed from U.S. Navy ships under its husbanding contracts.  The use of these meters would have ensured proper accounting of the actual amount of waste removed to ensure that no overbilling occurred.  Simpkins also allegedly instructed a U.S. Navy official not to review invoices that GDMA submitted in connection to a recent port call in Hong Kong after Francis complained that U.S. Navy personnel were asking questions.

The charges contained in a complaint are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by NCIS and DCIS.The case is being prosecuted by Director of Procurement Fraud Catherine Votaw and Senior Trial Attorney Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Robert S. Huie of the Southern District of California.

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.

U.S. Navy Commander Pleads Guilty in International Bribery Scandal

Second U.S. Navy Officer Indicted on Related Bribery Charges

A commander in the U.S. Navy pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges today, admitting that he provided a government contractor with classified ship schedules and other internal U.S. Navy information in exchange for cash, travel and entertainment expenses, as well as the services of prostitutes.  A second U.S. Navy officer was also indicted today on related bribery charges by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of California.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Director Andrew L. Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Deputy Inspector General of Investigations James B. Burch of the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) made the announcement.

“Commander Sanchez sold out his command and country for cash bribes, luxury hotel rooms, and the services of prostitutes,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “After today’s guilty plea, instead of free stays at the Shangri-La hotel, Sanchez is facing many nights in federal prison.  The Department of Justice’s Criminal Division is committed to prosecuting those who abuse positions of public trust for personal enrichment at the expense of national security and the American taxpayers.”

“During the course of the investigation into this criminal enterprise, investigators have compiled voluminous evidence identifying multiple persons of interest, generating numerous leads, and establishing and corroborating connections,” said Director Traver.  “NCIS and our law enforcement partners are committed to seeing this massive fraud and bribery investigation through to its conclusion, so that those responsible are held accountable.”

“This outcome yet again sends the message that corruption will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” said Deputy Inspector General of Investigations Burch.  “This is an unfortunate example of dishonorable Naval officers who recklessly risked the safety of our troops by trading classified information for cash, extravagant gifts and prostitutes.  Cases such as these are not motivated by need or other difficult personal circumstances; they are the product of simple greed.  This investigation should serve as a warning that those who compromise the integrity of the United States will face their day of reckoning.  DCIS and our law enforcement partners will pursue these crimes relentlessly.”

Jose Luis Sanchez, 42, an active duty U.S. Navy Officer stationed in San Diego, California, is one of seven defendants charged – and the fifth to plead guilty – in the corruption probe involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contractor based in Singapore that serviced U.S. Navy ships and submarines throughout the Pacific.  Sanchez pleaded guilty to bribery and bribery conspiracy before U.S. Magistrate Judge David H. Bartick of the Southern District of California.  A sentencing hearing was scheduled for March 27, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino.

According to his plea agreement, from April 2008 to April 2013, Sanchez held various logistical positions with the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet in Asia.  Sanchez admitted that, beginning in September 2009, he entered into a bribery scheme with Leonard Glenn Francis, the CEO of GDMA, in which Sanchez provided classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information to Francis and used his position and influence within the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA.  In return, Francis gave him things of value such as cash, travel and entertainment expenses, and the services of prostitutes.  Sanchez admitted that this bribery scheme continued until September 2013.  Francis was charged in a complaint unsealed on Nov. 6, 2013, with conspiring to commit bribery; that charge remains pending.

In his plea agreement, Sanchez admitted to seven specific instances in which he provided Francis with classified U.S. Navy ship and submarine schedules.  He also admitted using his position and influence with the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA and Francis on various occasions.  Further, Sanchez admitted that he tipped Francis off about investigations into GDMA overbillings and briefed Francis on internal U.S. Navy deliberations.

Sanchez further admitted that, in exchange for this information, Francis provided him with cash, entertainment and stays at high-end hotels.  For example, in May 2012, Francis paid for Sanchez to stay five nights at the Shangri-La, a luxury hotel in Singapore, and, two months later, Francis paid for Sanchez’s travel from Asia to the United States, at a cost of over $7,500.  Additionally, Francis arranged and paid for the services of prostitutes for Sanchez while Sanchez was in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia.

In addition to Sanchez, two other U.S. Navy officials – former NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau and Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug – have pleaded guilty in connection with this investigation.Two former GDMA executives, Alex Wisidagama and Edmond Aruffo, have likewise pleaded guilty.

Also today, an indictment was returned against U.S. Navy Captain-Select Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 47, of San Diego, California, charging him with a bribery conspiracy and seven counts of bribery.  According to allegations in the indictment, from at least as early as July 2011 until  September 2013, Misiewicz provided classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information to Francis and used his position and influence within the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA.  In return Francis allegedly gave him things of value such as cash, travel and entertainment expenses, and the services of prostitutes.

The charges contained in a criminal complaint and indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by NCIS, DCIS and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Director of Procurement Fraud Catherine Votaw and Trial Attorney Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Robert S. Huie of the Southern District of California.

Civilian Navy Employee Found Guilty of Obstruction and False Statements After Jury Trial

A federal jury today returned a guilty verdict against a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy posted at the Capodichino Navy Base near Naples, Italy, for obstructing an investigation and making false statements, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt of the Southern District of Iowa.

Steven William Ashton, 41, with a last known U.S. residence in Davenport, Iowa, was found guilty after a nine-day jury trial of creating false documents to obstruct the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigation into Ashton’s private consulting business called BlackGrid Consulting LLC.  The jury also found Ashton guilty of making false statements about his tour of duty in order to obtain federal benefits and access to military bases worldwide.

The evidence at trial showed that the NCIS was investigating Ashton for conflicts of interest and using inside government information to advance his business.  When Ashton learned about the investigation, he created fraudulent documentation purporting to show that he had fully disclosed his business to Navy authorities and received approval.  At Ashton’s direction, his defense counsel unwittingly submitted those false documents to the prosecutors and gave other false explanations to the Justice Department.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from April 2004 to March 2013, Ashton was employed by the Navy as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Host Nation Programs Manager for the regions of Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia, responsible for managing contracts and agreements among the Navy and other countries to support the United States’ military efforts.

He was found not guilty on charges of theft of government funds for obtaining housing benefits, called Living Quarters Assistance, to which he was not entitled, and of obstructing that investigation.

This case was investigated by the NCIS and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  The case is being prosecuted by Director of Procurement Fraud Litigation Catherine Votaw of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Clifford Cronk of the Southern District of Iowa.

Defense Contractor Pleads Guilty to Major Fraud in Provision of Supplies to U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Supreme Foodservice GmbH, a privately held Swiss company, and Supreme Foodservice FZE, a privately-held United Arab Emirates (UAE) company, pleaded guilty today to major fraud against the United States and agreed to resolve civil violations of the False Claims Act, in connection with a contract to provide food and water to the U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, the Justice Department announced today.  The companies pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (EDPA) and paid $288.36 million in the criminal case, a sum that includes the maximum criminal fine allowed.

In addition, Supreme Group B.V. and several of its subsidiaries have agreed to pay an additional $146 million to resolve a related civil lawsuit, as well as two separate civil matters, alleging false billings to the Department of Defense (DoD) for fuel and transporting cargo to American soldiers in Afghanistan.  The lawsuit was filed in the EDPA, and the fuel and transportation allegations were investigated by the Southern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Virginia, respectively, along with the Department’s Civil Division.

“The civil resolutions and agreements reflect the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to hold accountable contractors that have engaged in war profiteering,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The department will pursue contractors that knowingly seek taxpayer funds to which they are not entitled.”

“These companies chose to commit their fraud in connection with a contract to supply food and water to our nation’s fighting men and women serving in Afghanistan,” said U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  “That kind of conduct is repugnant, and we will use every available resource to punish such illegal war profiteering.”

The Criminal Fraud

In 2005, Supreme Foodservice AG, now called Supreme Foodservice GmbH, entered into a contract with the Defense Supply Center of Philadelphia (DSCP, now called Defense Logistics Agency – Troop Support) to provide food and water for the U.S. forces serving in Afghanistan.  According to court documents, between July 2005 and April 2009, Supreme Foodservice AG, together with Supreme Foodservice KG, now called Supreme Foodservice FZE, devised and implemented a scheme to overcharge the United States in order to make profits over and above those provided in the $8.8 billion subsistence prime vendor (SPV) contract.  The companies fraudulently inflated the price charged for local market ready goods (LMR) and bottled water sold to the United States under the SPV contract.  The Supreme companies did this by using a UAE company it controlled, Jamal Ahli Foods Co. LLC (JAFCO), as a middleman to mark up prices for fresh fruits and vegetables and other locally-produced products sold to the U.S. government, and to obscure the inflated price the Supreme companies were charging for bottled water.  The fraud resulted in a loss to the government of $48 million.

Supreme AG, Supreme FZE and Supreme’s owners (referred to in court documents as Supreme Owners #1 and #2) made concentrated efforts to conceal Supreme’s true relationship with JAFCO, and to make JAFCO appear to be an independent company.  They also took steps to make JAFCO’s mark-up on LMR look legitimate, and persisted in the fraudulent mark-ups even in the face of questions from DSCP about the pricing of LMR.

Even though the SPV contract stated that the Supreme food companies should charge the government the supplier’s price for the goods, emails between executives at the companies (referred to as Supreme Executive #1, #2, etc) reveal the companies’ deliberate decision to inflate the prices. Among other things, Supreme Owner #1 increased the mark-up that JAFCO would impose on non-alcoholic beer from 25 percent to 125 percent.  On or about Feb. 16, 2006, during a discussion about supplying a new product to the U.S. government, one Supreme executive wrote to another, “I am very sure the best option is to buy it from Germany and mark up via [JAFCO], like [non-alcoholic] beer.”

In early March 2006, after a DSCP contracting officer told the Supreme food companies that she wanted to see a manufacturer’s invoice for specific frozen products, Supreme Foodservice GmbH lowered its prices for those products to prices that did not include a JAFCO mark-up.  On March 14, 2006, instead of disclosing that the initial pricing had included a mark-up, a Supreme executive misled the DSCP representative by saying, “Based on more realistic quantities, we have been able to negotiate a better price,” to explain the change in pricing.

In June 2006, when a DSCP contracting officer raised questions about pricing focusing on four specific items, Supreme executives again misled the DSCP, claiming that the high prices were for a high quality of product, and offering to sell lower quality products for lower prices.  Supreme Foodservice GmbH did this even after analyzing its JAFCO margin on the four items in question and finding its profit margins were between 41 and 56 percent.

In September 2007, after a fired Supreme executive threatened to tell the DSCP about the fraud, his former employer entered into negotiation of a “separation agreement” with that executive to induce that executive not to disclose the ways in which the Supreme food companies were overcharging the DSCP.  The agreement stated that the executive would receive, among other things, a payment of 400,000 euros in September 2010, provided that the executive did not cause: a deterioration in the economic situation linked to the SPV contract; the termination of the SPV contract; or a decrease in the price levels for products, specifically including LMR and bottled water provided to the U.S. government.

Defendant Supreme GmbH pleaded guilty to major fraud against the United States, conspiracy to commit major fraud and wire fraud.  Supreme FZE, which owns JAFCO, pleaded guilty to major fraud against the United States.  The Supreme companies agreed to jointly pay $48 million in restitution and $10 million in criminal forfeiture.  Each company also agreed to pay $96 million in criminal fines.  In addition, as a result of the criminal investigation, the Supreme companies paid $38.3 million directly to the DSCP as a refund for separate overpayments on bottled water.

The Civil Settlements

In a related civil settlement, Supreme Group agreed to pay another $101 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the EDPA by a former executive, which alleged that Supreme Group, and its food subsidiaries, violated the False Claims Act by knowingly overcharging for supplying food and water under the SPV contract.  The payment also resolves claims that, from June 2005 to December 2010, the Supreme food companies failed to disclose and pass through to the government rebates and discounts it obtained from its suppliers, as required by its SPV contract with the United States.

“Today’s results are part of an ongoing effort by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and its law enforcement partners to protect the integrity of the Department of Defense’s acquisition process from personal and corporate greed,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigations James B. Burch for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General.  “The Defense Criminal Investigative Service will continue to pursue allegations of fraud and corruption that puts the Warfighter at risk.”

“We are very pleased with this resolution, and are gratified that the public can now see what we’ve been aggressively investigating,” said Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU).  “Companies that do business with the government must comply with all of their obligations, and if they overcharge for supplying our men and women in uniform who are bravely serving this nation, they must be held accountable for their actions.”

Separately, Supreme Site Services GmbH, a Supreme Group subsidiary, agreed to pay $20 million to settle allegations that they overbilled for fuel purchased by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for Kandahar Air Field (KAF) in Afghanistan under a NATO Basic Ordering Agreement.  The government alleged that Supreme Site Services’ drivers were stealing fuel destined for KAF generators while en route for which the company falsely billed DLA.

“It is important that government contractors supporting conflicts abroad be held accountable for their billings to the government,” said U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia.  “The DoD investigating components are instrumental in protecting the interests of the government, and their efforts in this investigation are to be commended.”

Supreme Group’s subsidiary Supreme Logistics FZE also has agreed to pay $25 million to resolve alleged false billings by Supreme Logistics in connection with shipping contracts between the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), located at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, and various shipping carriers to transport food to U.S. troops in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.  The shipping carriers transported cargo destined for U.S. troops from the United States to Latvia or other intermediate ports, and then arranged with logistics vendors, including Supreme Logistics, to carry the cargo the rest of the way to Afghanistan.  The United States alleged that Supreme Logistics falsely billed USTRANSCOM for higher-priced refrigerated trucks when it actually used lower-priced non-refrigerated trucks to transport the cargo.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois is committed to protecting the integrity of all of the vital missions carried out at Scott Air Force Base, including the mission of the U.S. Transportation Command,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton for the Southern District of Illinois.  “These vital services carried out by the brave men and women of the armed forces of the United States deserve, and will receive, our full support, and this office will do everything possible to protect their missions.”

“These settlements are victories for American taxpayers,” said Special Inspector General John F. Sopko for Afghanistan Reconstruction.  “It sends a clear signal that whether a case involves a mom and pop outfit or a major multinational corporation, we will work tirelessly with our investigative partners to pursue justice any time U.S. dollars supporting the mission in Afghanistan are misused.”

The EDPA lawsuit was initially filed under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, by Michael Epp, Supreme GmbH’s former Director, Commercial Division and Supply Chain.  The False Claims Act prohibits the submission of false claims for government money or property and allows the United States to recover treble damages and penalties for a violation.  Under the Act’s whistleblower provisions, a private party may file suit on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery.  The case remained under seal to permit the United States to investigate the allegations and decide whether to intervene and take over the case.  Epp will receive $16.16 million as his share of the government’s settlement of the lawsuit.

The criminal and civil matters in the EDPA were the result of a coordinated effort by the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, DCIS, U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Command’s MPFU and the FBI.

The investigation of Supreme Site Services ’ alleged false billings for fuel was conducted by the Civil Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the investigation of Supreme Logistics’ alleged false invoices for transportation was handled by the Civil Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois.  Both matters were investigated by the Defense Contract Audit Agency Office of Investigative Support, the Army Audit Agency, the International Contract Corruption Task Force, the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit, the DoD Office of Inspector General’s DCIS, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The claims resolved by the civil settlements are allegations only, except for the conduct for which the Supreme food companies have pleaded guilty.

Former United States Navy Military Sealift Command Contractor and Co-Founder of Government Contracting Company Sentenced to Prison

A former contractor for the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC) and a co-founder of a Chesapeake, Virginia, government contracting company were sentenced today for their roles in a scheme to bribe and provide illegal gratuities to public officials to secure lucrative military contracts.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Royce E. Curtin of the FBI’s Norfolk Office, Executive Assistant Director Charles T. May Jr. of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig, Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office made the announcement.  United States District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of the Eastern District of Virginia imposed the sentences.

Scott B. Miserendino Sr., 55, of Stafford, Virginia, and Timothy S. Miller, 58, of Chesapeake, Virginia, were sentenced to serve 96 months in prison and 24 months in prison, respectively.  Miserendino was also ordered to forfeit $212,000 and Miller was ordered to forfeit $167,000.  Miller was also ordered to pay a fine of $25,000.  In August 2014, Miserendino pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of bribery, and Miller pleaded guilty to providing illegal gratuities to Miserendino and Kenny E. Toy, the former Afloat Programs Manager for the N6 Command, Control, Communication, and Computer Systems Directorate.

According to admissions in his plea agreement, Miserendino was a government contractor at the MSC, which is the leading provider of transportation for the U.S. Navy.  In that position, Miserendino worked closely with Toy, who exercised substantial influence over the MSC contracting process.  In November 2004, Miserendino and Toy initiated a bribery scheme that spanned five years, involved multiple co-conspirators, including two companies, and resulted in Miserendino and Toy receiving more than $265,000 in cash, among other things of value, in exchange for official acts in connection with the award of MSC contracts.

Specifically, Miserendino and Toy solicited cash from co-conspirators, including a $50,000 cash payment from Miller and his business partner, Dwayne A. Hardman, to influence the award of government contracts.  Miserendino admitted that he and Toy also accepted other things of value in exchange for official acts, including a vacation rental, laptop computers, flat screen televisions, a football helmet signed by Troy Aikman, a wine refrigerator and softball bats.

According to Miller’s admissions, during the scheme, his company received approximately $2.5 million in business from the MSC, despite its limited record of past performance in the industry.  Miserendino and Toy also directed $3 million in business from MSC to another company run by other co-conspirators.

After the cash payments were delivered, Miller admitted that he directed the creation of a false promissory note disguising the illegal gratuities as a personal loan to another individual.  Miserendino also admitted to engaging in a scheme to conceal his criminal activity by arranging for more than $85,000 to be paid to Hardman in an attempt to dissuade him from reporting the bribery scheme to law enforcement authorities.

Earlier this year, five other individuals pleaded guilty and were sentenced in connection with the bribery scheme:

  • Toy pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to forfeit $100,000;
  • Hardman pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to forfeit $144,000;
  • Michael P. McPhail pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to forfeit $57,000;
  • Roderic J. Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to forfeit $175,000; and
  • Adam C. White pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to forfeit $57,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI, NCIS and DCIS, and prosecuted by Trial Attorney Emily Rae Woods of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Haynie of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Mississippi Man Pleads Guilty to Paying Bribes to Employees at Military Base for Freight Business

A former driver for a national trucking company pleaded guilty today to bribery charges, admitting that he bribed employees in the Traffic Office at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (MCLB-Albany) in order to obtain lucrative freight hauling business, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore of the Middle District of Georgia.

David R. Nelson, 54, of Lucedale, Mississippi, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands in the Middle District of Georgia to one count of bribery of a public official.

During his guilty plea, Nelson, a former driver for a large transportation company based in Louisville, Kentucky, admitted to paying more than $100,000 in bribes between 2006 and 2012 to officials in the Traffic Office at MCLB-Albany in exchange for obtaining freight shipments from the base to destinations on the West Coast.  The bribes started at $500 for each shipment, but later grew to as much as $1,500 per shipment.  From the money he made from these freight shipments, Nelson purchased a $50,000 specially-modified trailer that allowed him to carry multiple Protected Security Service loads on a single trip.

As part of his plea agreement with the United States, Nelson agreed to forfeit the proceeds he received as a result of the bribery scheme, as well as to pay full restitution to the Department of Defense.  Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

The case is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Richard B. Evans, J.P. Cooney and John Keller of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney K. Alan Dasher of the Middle District of Georgia.

Co-Founder of Government Contracting Company Pleads Guilty to Bribery

Timothy S. Miller, 58, a co-founder of a Chesapeake, Virginia, government contracting company, pleaded guilty today to bribing two public officials working for the United States Navy Military Sealift Command.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, United States Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Susan Triesch of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Norfolk Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Royce E. Curtin of the FBI Norfolk Field Office made the announcement today after Miller’s guilty plea was accepted by United States Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard of the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, in February 2009, Miller, along with his business partner, Dwayne A. Hardman, co-founded a government contracting company that provided telecommunications support to the Military Sealift Command, which is the leading provider of transportation for the U.S. Navy.

At the plea hearing, Miller admitted that he bribed two officials at the Military Sealift Command for favorable official acts.    In particular, he admitted that on May 12, 2009, he gave $30,000 in cash to Kenny E. Toy, the former Afloat Programs Manager for the Military Sealift Command’s N6 Command, Control, Communication, and Computer Systems Directorate, and Scott B. Miserendino Sr., a government contractor who worked with Toy at the Military Sealift Command Headquarters.    He also admitted that just two days after giving Toy and Miserendino the $30,000, he agreed that Hardman should give Toy and Miserendino an additional $20,000.

According to Miller’s statement of facts, Toy exercised substantial influence over the Military Sealift Command contracting process by creating and executing multi-million dollar budgets, obtaining funding for projects, developing and having access to sensitive information, and requesting that subcontract work be awarded to particular companies.   As a result of the $50,000 payment, Miserendino and Toy performed various official acts to assist Miller’s company.    Indeed, in 2009, Miller’s company received approximately $2.5 million in business from the Military Sealift Command.

As a condition of his plea agreement, Miller has agreed to forfeit $167,000.    Miller is scheduled to be sentenced on November 7, 2014.

Earlier this year, five other individuals pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme.    On February 12, 2014, Toy pleaded guilty to bribery, and he was sentenced on July 29, 2014, to serve 96 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $100,000.    On February 18, 2014, Hardman pleaded guilty to bribery, and he was sentenced on July 9, 2014, to serve 96 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $144,000.    On February 19, 2014, Michael P. McPhail pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, and he was sentenced on August 5, 2014, to serve 36 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $57,000.    On March 5, 2014, Roderic J. Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, and he was sentenced on June 23, 2014, to serve 48 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $175,000.    On April 4, 2014, Adam C. White pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, and he was sentenced on July 11, 2014, to serve 24 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $57,000.

The case was investigated by the FBI, NCIS and DCIS.    The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Emily Rae Woods of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Haynie of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Former U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command Manager Sentenced for Receiving Bribes

Kenny E. Toy, 54, the former Afloat Programs Manager at the United States Navy Military Sealift Command, was sentenced today to serve 96 months in prison for receiving bribes.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, United States Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office, Acting Executive Assistant Director Charles T. May Jr. of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Atlantic Operations and Special Agent in Charge Royce E. Curtin of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office made the announcement today after sentencing by United States Chief Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of the Eastern District of Virginia.

On Feb. 12, 2014, Toy pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with one count of bribery.   According to the statement of facts filed with Toy’s plea agreement, Toy was employed as the Afloat Programs Manager in the N6 Command, Control, Communication, and Computer Systems Directorate at the Military Sealift Command, which is the leading provider of transportation for the United States Navy.  In approximately November 2004, Toy joined an extensive bribery conspiracy that spanned five years, involved multiple co-conspirators, including two different companies, and resulted in the payment of more than $265,000 in cash bribes, among other things of value, to Toy and to Scott B. Miserendino Sr., a former government contractor who performed work for the Military Sealift Command.

At his plea hearing, Toy admitted that he accepted monthly cash bribes of approximately $3,000, as well as a flat screen television and a paid vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, from co-conspirators Dwayne A. Hardman, Roderic J. Smith, Michael P. McPhail and Adam C. White, all of whom were employed at a government contracting company referred to as Company A in court documents.  Toy also admitted that he accepted a $50,000 cash bribe in May 2009 from Hardman and another co-conspirator, Timothy S. Miller, both of whom were employed at a government contracting company referred to as Company B in court documents.  In exchange for the bribes, Toy provided favorable treatment to Company A and Company B in connection with Military Sealift Command related business.

As part of his guilty plea, Toy also admitted to engaging in a scheme to conceal his criminal activity.  Toy admitted to causing more than $88,000 to be paid to Hardman in an attempt to prevent Hardman from reporting the bribery scheme to law enforcement authorities.

Toy was also ordered to serve a supervised release term of three years following his prison sentence, and ordered to forfeit $100,000.

Earlier this year, four other individuals pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme.  On Feb. 18, 2014, Hardman, the co-founder of Company A and Company B, pleaded guilty to providing bribes to Toy and Miserendino.   On Feb. 19, 2014, McPhail, a former employee at Company A, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.   On April 4, 2014, White, a former vice president at Company A, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.   On March 5, 2014, Smith, the former president of Company A, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bribe public officials.   On June 23, 2014, United States District Judge Henry Coke Morgan sentenced Smith to serve 48 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $175,000.

On May 23, 2014, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Miserendino and Timothy S. Miller, a businessman whose company sought contracting business from the Military Sealift Command.   The indictment charges Miserendino with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit obstruction of criminal investigations and to commit tampering with a witness, and one count of obstruction of criminal investigations.   The indictment charges Miller with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of bribery.   Trial is set for Sept. 30, 2014, before Chief Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.

Charges contained in an indictment are merely allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the FBI, NCIS and DCIS.   The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Emily Rae Woods of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Haynie of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Two Former Chesapeake, Virginia, Subcontractors Sentenced for Bribery, Conspiracy

Dwayne A. Hardman, 44, co-founder of two government contracting companies that sought business from the United States Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC), and Adam C. White, 40, former vice president and co-owner of one of Hardman’s government contracting companies, were sentenced for bribery and conspiracy.    On July 9, 2014, Hardman was sentenced to 96 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.    White was sentenced today to serve 24 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.    Hardman was ordered to forfeit $144,000, and White was ordered to forfeit $57,000.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, United States Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Royce E. Curtin of the FBI’s Norfolk Office, Acting Executive Assistant Director Charles T. May Jr. of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office made the announcement today after sentencing by United States Chief Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of the Eastern District of Virginia.
According to court documents, Hardman and White participated in a five-year bribery scheme in which they and several co-conspirators provided more than $265,000 in cash bribes, among other things, to two public officials working for MSC, in an illegal effort to influence those public officials to provide favorable treatment to Hardman and White’s companies in connection with United States government contracting work.
On Feb. 18, 2014, Hardman pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with bribery.    According to the plea documents, Hardman was the co-founder of two government contracting companies, referred to as Company A and Company B, located in Chesapeake, Virginia that sought contracting business from MSC, which is the leading provider of transportation for the United States Navy.  At his plea hearing, Hardman admitted that beginning in March 2005, he and other Company A employees, provided approximately $3,000 in cash bribes per month to two MSC public officials, Kenny E. Toy, the former Afloat Programs Manager for the MSC’s N6 Command, Control, Communication, and Computer Systems Directorate, and Scott B. Miserendino Sr., a former government contractor who performed work for the MSC.  Those Company A employees included Roderic J. Smith, the former president, co-owner and co-founder of Company A; Adam C. White, a former vice president and co-owner of Company A; and Michael P. McPhail a former project manager and co-owner of Company A.  Hardman also admitted that in May 2009, he and Timothy S. Miller, co-founder of Company B, provided $50,000 in cash bribes to Toy and Miserendino.    In addition to the cash bribes, Hardman stated that he and his co-conspirators provided Toy and Miserendino flat screen televisions, a paid vacation to Nags Head in North Carolina, a personal loan and installation of hardwood floors in Toy’s residence.
In exchange for these bribes, Toy and Miserendino provided favorable treatment in connection with MSC-related business to both Company A and Company B.  During the bribery scheme, Company A received approximately $3 million in MSC-related business, and Company B received approximately $2.4 million in MSC-related business.
As part of his guilty plea, Hardman also admitted that, in approximately November or December 2010, Hardman threatened to report the bribery activities to law enforcement authorities if his co-conspirators did not provide him money.    In total, Hardman admitted that he received approximately $85,000 from his co-conspirators, including Smith, Toy and Miserendino, in exchange for not reporting the bribery scheme to law enforcement authorities.
On April 4, 2014, White pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with conspiracy to commit bribery.    At his plea hearing, White admitted that from approximately April 2005 until approximately March 2006, he personally contributed approximately $26,000 in cash bribe payments for Toy and Miserendino, and White was aware that other co-conspirators, including Hardman, Smith and McPhail, were also contributing cash and other things of value to be provided to Toy and Miserendino in exchange for their official assistance in providing MSC-related business.
Earlier this year, three other individuals pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme.    On Feb. 12, 2014, Toy, the former Afloat Programs Manager, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Hardman, White, and others.    On Feb. 19, 2014, McPhail pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.    On March 5, 2014, Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bribe public officials.
On June 23, 2014, United States District Judge Henry Coke Morgan of the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Smith to 48 months in prison followed by 1 year of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $175,000.
On May 23, 2014, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Miserendino and Miller.    The indictment charges Miserendino with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit obstruction of criminal investigations and to commit tampering with a witness, and one count of obstruction of criminal investigations.    The indictment charges Miller with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of bribery.    Trial is set for Sept. 30, 2014, before Chief Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of the Eastern District of Virginia.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the FBI, NCIS, and DCIS.    The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Emily Rae Woods of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Haynie of the Eastern District of Virginia.

 

Former Chesapeake, Virginia Subcontractor Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Bribery

Roderic J. Smith, 50, the co-founder and former president of a government contracting company, was sentenced yesterday to 48 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for conspiracy to bribe public officials.    Smith was ordered to forfeit $175,000.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, United States Attorney Dana J. Boente, for the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office, Acting Executive Assistant Director Charles T. May, Jr., of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Atlantic Operations, and Special Agent in Charge Royce E. Curtin of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office made the announcement today after sentencing by United States District Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. of the Eastern District of Virginia.
On March 5, 2014, Smith pleaded guilty to a criminal information.    According to court documents, Smith was the co-founder and president of a contracting company located in Chesapeake, Virginia, that sought contracting business from the United States Navy Military Sealift Command.    In approximately November 2004, Smith joined an extensive bribery conspiracy that spanned four years, involved multiple co-conspirators, including two different companies, and resulted in the payment of more than $265,000 in cash bribes, among other things of value, to two public officials performing work for the Military Sealift Command, Kenny E. Toy and Scott B. Miserendino, Sr.    In exchange for the bribe payments, Smith’s business, referred to as Company A in court documents, received lucrative business from the Military Sealift Command that amounted to approximately $3 million in task orders during the time period of the conspiracy.
As part of his guilty plea, Smith also admitted to engaging in a scheme to conceal his criminal activity.    According to the plea agreement, Smith admitted to paying more than $85,000 to his business partner, Dwayne A. Hardman, in an attempt to prevent Hardman from reporting the bribery scheme to law enforcement authorities.
Earlier this year, four other individuals pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme.    On Feb. 12, 2014, Kenny Toy, the former Afloat Programs Manager for the Military Sealift Command’s N6 Command, Control, Communication, and Computer Systems Directorate, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from Smith and others.    On Feb. 18, 2014, Smith’s business partner, Dwayne A. Hardman, pleaded guilty to bribery.    On Feb. 19, 2014 and April 4, 2014, respectively, Smith’s associate, Michael P. McPhail, and another Smith associate, Adam C. White, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.
On May 23, 2014, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia indicted two individuals in connection with the bribery scheme, Scott B. Miserendino, Sr., a former government contractor who performed work for the Military Sealift Command, and Timothy S. Miller, a businessman whose company sought contracting business from the Military Sealift Command.    The indictment charges Miserendino with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of bribery, one count of conspiracy to obstruct a criminal investigation and to tamper with a witness, and one count of obstruction of a criminal investigation.    The indictment charges Miller with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of bribery.    The trial on these charges is scheduled to begin on Sept. 30, 2014, before Chief Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.    The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by the FBI, NCIS and DCIS.    The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Emily Rae Woods of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen W. Haynie of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.