Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Guilty Plea in Defense Bribery Ring

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A Singaporean man pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to defraud the United States of $20 million by overcharging for supplies and services for U.S. ships in Asian ports.

The guilty plea from Alex Wisidagama, 40, was the second in what the U.S. Attorney's Office called "an extensive international fraud and bribery scandal that has ensnared GDMA [Glenn Defense Marine Asia] employees and several U.S. Navy officials." Wisidagama was a vice president of GDMA.

The government claims that Wisidagama's cousin, Leonard Glenn Francis, who owns GDMA, "bribed Navy officials with luxury travel and prostitutes in exchange for confidential information and other assistance in winning and retaining hundreds of millions of dollars in Navy contracts," the U.S. attorney said in a statement.

For instance, GDMA charged the Navy $2.3 million for fuel that cost $900,000 and $133,232 for "port dues" that actually cost just $6,849, the government says in a stipulation of facts .

Francis also has been charged in the bribery scheme, as have two U.S. Navy Commanders, Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Jose Luis Sanchez, the U.S. attorney said. Wisidagama faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of twice the gross gain from his offense.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.