Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Navy Commander Sentenced to 78 Months in Bribery Scandal

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Navy Commander Sentenced to 78 Months in Bribery Scandal

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO - A Navy commander who fled Cambodia's killing fields as a boy to grow up to become a decorated U.S. military officer was sentenced Friday to 78 months in prison for providing classified ship schedules in exchange for the services of prostitutes, theater tickets and other gifts from a Malaysian defense contractor. A federal judge in San Diego gave Captain-select Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 48, the longest sentence handed out so far in one of the worst bribery scandals to rock the Navy. The contractor overbilled the Navy by more than $34 million.

U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino told the court this offense was "one of the most serious I've had on my time on the bench.

In his plea agreement, Misiewicz acknowledged providing classified information to Leonard Glenn Francis, whose Singapore- based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, supplied ships in the Pacific for more than 25 years. Francis, nicknamed "Fat Leonard" because of his wide girth, used the schedules and inside information to beat out competitors and overbill the Navy by submitting fake tariffs and port fees, according to prosecutors.

Misiewicz and Francis moved Navy vessels like chess pieces, diverting aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships to Asian ports with lax oversight where Francis could inflate costs, the criminal complaint alleges.

Misiewicz is among 10 people charged in the case, including numerous Naval officials.

Navy Criminal Investigative Service agents initiated their probe in 2010. That same year, Misiewicz caught the world's attention when he made an emotional return as a U.S. Naval commander to his native Cambodia, where he had been rescued as a child from the violence of the Khmer Rouge and adopted by an American woman. His homecoming was widely covered by international media.

Meanwhile, Francis was recruiting him for his scheme, according to court documents. …

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