(NEW YORK) — In two stunning bribery cases, a high-ranking Navy officer and an NCIS special agent were arrested separately this week for allegedly trading confidential information to a foreign defense contractor in exchange for luxury travel, prostitutes and, in one case, tickets to a Lady Gaga concert, among other things.
According to court documents, both cases stemmed from the military’s investigation into allegations of fraud and bribery by a Malaysian citizen, Leonard Francis, and his company, a Singapore-based defense contractor called Glenn Defense Marine (Asia) (GDMA). GDMA does millions of dollars of “husbandry” business with the U.S. Navy, providing port-based services like tugboats, fuel and other provisions in foreign ports.
As the investigation progressed, it would go on to net two of the U.S. military’s own, including an agent for another military service investigating the same company, through colorful and allegedly damning emails.
Before his current posting at U.S. Northern Command in Peterson Air Force Base, Commander and Captain-Select Michael Misiewicz was the commanding officer of the Destoyer-class USS Mustin. In that role, he had “final decision-making authority with regard to husbanding service requirements” for that ship and later as the Deputy Operations Officer for the U.S. Commander of the Seventh Fleet, “wielded influence in determining or modifying the schedule of port visits for U.S. Navy vessels,” court documents say.
Emails quoted in the court documents appear to show Misiewicz engaging in discussions with Francis about attempts to use his position to change ship schedules and destinations, ostensibly to push business towards GDMA and sometimes with apparent success. Prosecutors also accuse Misiewicz of handing over confidential ship movement plans to Francis that gave GDMA a competitive advantage.
In addition, prosecutors said that once in port, GDMA repeatedly overbilled the Navy. In one instance, GDMA asked for $2.7 million for a port visit by the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis when other port visits by aircraft carriers in the same country cost approximately $1.36 million.
Much of the prosecutors’ case is built on a winding email trail allegedly left by Misiewicz that shows he became so close with Francis in the course of their dealings that Misiewicz began to refer to Francis as “Big Brother” and Francis, in turn, referred to Misiewicz as “Little Brother.” In the course of their relationship, Francis allegedly arranged travel and luxury hotel stays for Misiewicz on multiple occasions.
In Singapore in 2012, court documents say Misiewicz exchanged emails with Francis about attending an upcoming Lady Gaga concert in Thailand. Francis was apparently able to obtain five tickets for Misiewicz and others.
The court documents also detail an email exchange Francis had with “a woman associated with a prostitution service” that included “many pictures of young women along with their age, height, and bra size.” The investigating officer said in the court documents he believed Francis was picking out prostitutes for several people, including Misiewicz, for an upcoming trip to Singapore. Due to weather, however, the trip was canceled, the complaint said.
In the case of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agent, Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau II was charged in a separate bribery scheme also involving Francis, in which Beliveau allegedly gave Francis confidential information about an NCIS investigation into GDMA — including reports taken from the NCIS database — and advised him on how to respond to NCIS inquiries. Beliveau provided those services, prosecutors say, for “among other things, paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services.”
Beginning in 2010, NCIS had opened an investigation into GDMA potentially overbilling the Navy for husbandry services. Again, emails obtained by investigators appear to be the basis for the case.
In 2011, court documents allege Beliveau took a trip to Bangkok arranged and paid for by Francis.
“In addition, as an extra perquisite of this trip, Francis arranged a female escort to entertain Beliveau,” the complaint says. “According to one email, attaching a picture of this escort, Francis asked: ‘Joyce your kinda Babe’? Beliveau replied, ‘Nice. You bet. Hopefully I’m her kinda guy, hehe.'”
Prosecutors go on to accuse Beliveau of accessing the NCIS database to gather information on the agency’s investigation into GDMA and later advising Francis based on that information.
In a tense email exchange, Beliveau scolds Francis for not helping his “situation.”
“…I will always be your friend, but you will get nothing else…..until I get what you promise…. You give your whores more money than me ;),” Beliveau wrote, according to court documents. “I can be your best friend or your worst enemy….”
The filing does not elaborate on what Beliveau’s situation may have been or what exactly he was supposedly promised, except that Francis offers to mail it to him or send it through Western Union.
Misiewicz, Beliveau and Francis were all arrested Monday and charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Ed Harris, an attorney assigned to Misiewicz’s first preliminary hearings in Colorado where he was arrested, declined to comment on the particulars of his client’s case, noting that Misiewicz has not yet been indicted and arraigned and, therefore, has not entered a plea.
Neither Beliveau nor Francis have retained or been assigned an attorney as of this report, according to the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California.
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