December 12, 2013 — The U.S. military is just as likely as any government agency to be targeted with false claims by government contractors. When fraud occurs, the False Claims Act’s qui tam language allows contractor insiders to redress fraud directly by filing suit in federal court for the government’s benefit. To reward whistleblowers who are courageous enough to stand up and do the right thing, the Act gives informants the right to a portion of any recovery the government makes as a result of the suit.
Senior Navy Officers Charged With Funneling Business to Contractor in Exchange for Luxury Travel and Prostitutes
Leonard Glenn Francis, the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), has been arrested and GDMA executive Alex Wisidagama, has been charged with participating in a scheme to overbill the U.S. Navy. GDMA is a foreign defense contractor based in Singapore that provides hundreds of millions of dollars of services to the Navy in foreign ports throughout the Pacific. When Navy vessels are docked in foreign ports, GDMA provides “husbanding” services, including the supply of water, food, fuel, security and other goods and services to the vessels.
GDMA allegedly submitted false claims to the Navy, overcharging it for millions of dollars in services. A Supervisory Special Agent with Naval Criminal Investigative Service, John Bertrand Beliveau II, has been charged with illegally supplying Francis with NCIS investigation reports concerning the alleged fraudulent billings. Another Navy officer, U.S. Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, has also been arrested for his alleged role in the scheme.
According to the Department of Justice, Francis emailed Sanchez in 2011, asking for help sending business to GDMA. The USS Mustin was to make a port visit in Thailand and Francis wanted the vessel to rely on GDMA for refueling as opposed to using “sea cards” to purchase fuel at a reduced rate negotiated by the Defense Logistics Agency for Energy. Sanchez reportedly emailed Francis back, indicating that a deal had been worked out in GDMA’s favor, resulting in the Mustin paying over $1 million for fuel — more than double the price had the “sea card” been used. Sanchez also allegedly informed Francis concerning the status of the NCIS investigation of GDMA’s alleged fraudulent billings to the Navy.
Another senior Navy official, Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, has also been charged on related bribery allegations. Sanchez and Misiewicz have been accused of passing sensitive Navy information to Francis that could help GDMA win Navy contracts. In exchange, GDMA allegedly provided the Navy officers with luxury travel and prostitutes. The scam allegedly lasted from January 2009 until April 2013.
Blowing the Whistle on Fraudulent Claims by Government Contractors
Employee insiders are sometimes the first to learn of False Claims Act violations because they are asked to take part. At that point, many tipsters choose to collaborate with the United States government by filing a False Claims Act lawsuit. The whistleblower lawyers with Waters & Kraus have frequently heard our clients describe the intimidation they’ve experienced as their bosses and coworkers scramble to hide evidence of a scheme to submit false claims to the government. We’ve helped others in your shoes. Contact us by email or phone our False Claims Act lawyers at 855.784.0268. With qui tam lawyers in Maryland, Texas and California, we’re here to make the process easier on you.