Ex-defense contractor manager enters guilty plea in US Navy overbilling case
Mar 19, 2014 07:13 PM EDT
A Bloomberg report said a former manager for a defense contractor entered his guilty plea in a landmark case that involved bribing two commanders to secure contracts with the US Navy. 40 year-old Alex Wisidagama has enetered his plea in the San Diego federal court yesterday following his admission that his firm has overbilled the US Navy by over $20 million. Wisidagama, the news agency noted, is the second person who had pleaded guilty in light of the investigation on the bribery which allegedly involved Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine (Asia) and the naval officers.
Wisidagama, who is the cousin of the Glenn Defense Marine (Asia) chief executive officer Leonard Glenn Francis, were accused of duping the US Navy of millions of taxpayer dollars through manipulation. Francis is currently facing charges of providing prostitutes and other gifts to two US Navy commanders. According to court filings, the company has obtained contracts with the US Navy for about a quarter of a century and has been providing goods and services for US ships in about a dozen Asian countries.
To illustrate how the Singapore-based company benefited from their US contracts via manipulation, one, five-year contract in 2011 was said to be worth $125 million. Francis allegedly paid for the tickets to a Lady Gaga concert and a Tokyo Broadway production of the "Lion King" for one of the naval commanders after the latter confided to him confidential information regarding the US Navy's ship routes.
The two Glenn Defense Marine (Asia) executives were arrested in San Diego in September of last year, Bloomberg said. Francis and the two unnamed commanders have pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against them.
In a statement, US Attorney Laura Duffy said, "Wisidagama and others were creative, deceitful and audacious in their efforts to manipulate the Navy and steal millions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers. This plea is an important development in our ongoing case, and we will continue to pursue all avenues."
Bloomberg said Wisidagama, who has been accused of padding fake invoices and counterfeit competitive bids to jack up the cos of the contracts, could face up to a decade in prison in a sentencing ruling by US District Judge Janis Sammartino on June 13.