Six years after the launch of an investigation into an Asia-based contractor bribery scheme that cost the Navy $20 million, a Navy commander pleaded guilty to accepting illegal cash, gifts, travel, entertainment and prostitution services, the Justice Department revealed on Thursday.
Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 48, of San Diego, pleaded guilty in the Southern District of California to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery. He accepted gifts from contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia from 2011-2013 in exchange for classified ship and submarine schedules that contained information related to the Navy’s ballistic missile defense operations in the Pacific, Justice said in a release.
“In exchange for luxury vacations, gifts and other expenses, Commander Misiewicz betrayed his oath, the men and women of the U.S. Navy, and American taxpayers by directing lucrative government contracts to his financial patron,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, citing the Criminal Division’s cooperation with the Defense and Naval criminal investigative services.
“Commander Misiewicz provided information to a foreign contractor that, in the wrong hands, could’ve had a devastating impact on national security,” said Southern California U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “By giving in to greed, he put his Navy shipmates and fellow Americans in harm’s way.”
NCIS Director Andrew Traver said, “Misiewicz chose personal gain and gratification over sacrifice and service to our country. His actions are antithetical to the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment. Along with DCIS, we will continue vigorously pursuing all aspects of the investigation.”
Misiewicz admitted to giving Singapore-based defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, CEO and owner of GDMA, classified information when he was stationed in Japan, on the USS Mustin, and in Colorado Springs. Besides the cash, GDMA paid him and his family for luxury travel on at least eight occasions, including giving his wife a designer handbag, Justice reported. He and co-conspirators communicated via clandestine email accounts that were later deleted.
In the broader prosecution of the case highly embarrassing to the Navy, nine individuals thus far have been charged. Misiewicz is the eighth to plead guilty. Others include Capt. Daniel Dusek, Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau and U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug, who was sentenced to 27 months in prison and a $15,000 fine, according to the Justice statement. Former Defense Department civilian employee Paul Simpkins awaits a trial.
Misiewicz is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29, before U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino of the Southern District of California.
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