Ex-Navy Contract Officer Gets Prison Time in 'Fat Leonard' Scandal

Paul Simpkins pleads guilty to taking bribes for steering contracts to Malaysia-based firm. 

In the latest sentencing in the Navy bribery scandal revolving around businessman “Fat Leonard,” a former supervisory contracting officer on Friday was sentenced to 72 months in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for steering U.S. Navy deals to the president of a defense contractor.

Paul Simpkins, 62, of Haymarket, Va., who has a long background in managing Defense Department contracting, pleaded guilty to accepting travel and entertainment expenses, the services of prostitutes and at least $300,000 in exchange for helping to steer lucrative U.S. Navy contracts to CEO Leonard Glenn Francis and Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino of the Southern District of California gave Simpkins the prison time and required him to pay $450,000 in restitution, to forfeit $150,000 and pay a $50,000 fine.

“Simpkins abused his position as a Navy contracting officer to obtain cash, air travel, hotel rooms and prostitutes,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell. “Along with others convicted in this ongoing investigation, Simpkins tarnished the reputation earned by the U.S. Navy officers and enlisted and civilian personnel who honorably serve this nation every day.”

GDMA bribed multiple U.S. Navy contracting officers in order to obtain such information as ship arrival times in the Pacific and to intervene on Glenn’s behalf in contract disputes.

Simpkins, the Justice Department said in a statement, concealed the true nature of his wire transfers to Francis using an email account belonging to his mistress to advise Francis of the routing and account information for a bank account belonging to his wife. In another email, Simpkins asked Francis to provide “some clean, disease free” women and in another email Simpkins advised Francis that he “will arrive in Singapore on 11 September.  Whats [sic] the plan to meet up and maybe do some honey’s? [sic]” 

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said, “With premeditation beyond that of many of the other defendants in this case, Simpkins methodically plotted to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribe money and launder it through a secret foreign bank account in someone else’s name. We tip our hat to the investigators who discovered this crime and brought the perpetrator to justice.”

The case was brought by Justice’s Criminal Division (fraud section), the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.

So far, a total of 16 individuals have been charged in connection with the GDMA corruption and fraud investigation. Francis has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.