A US Navy official has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges, admitting he received envelopes of cash and the services of prostitutes from a Singapore-based company at the center of a multimillion-dollar fraud investigation.
John Beliveau II, a supervisor in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), entered his plea at a hearing in federal court in San Diego, California on Tuesday.
The bribery scandal has ensnared six US Navy officials so far and could lead to an expansion of the investigation if Beliveau cooperates with authorities as part of his plea agreement.
"I'm here to do the right thing, and that's what I did today," Beliveau, who worked for NCIS for 11 years, said after entering his guilty plea.
Beliveau became the first to be convicted in the bribery probe involving US Navy contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars in maintenance and restocking for Pacific Fleet ships.
Beliveau, who was arrested in September, was accused of accepting money, travel and hotel costs for trips to Thailand and Indonesia from a Malaysian contractor, where he was also provided with prostitutes, according to charging documents.
Overbilling port services
The investigation has resulted in conspiracy charges filed against Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian citizen and owner of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).
The case alleges GDMA overbilled the Navy by at least $20mn for port services. GDMA has provided fuel, food and supplies for Navy ships for 25 years.
Francis, 49, has pleaded not guilty, and is in federal custody in San Diego.
According to the plea, Beliveau gave Francis detailed advice on how to thwart a years-long NCIS investigation against him, leaking the names of witnesses and sharing hundreds of pages of confidential NCIS files with him.
In exchange, he received travel and dinners worth thousands of dollars, at least five envelopes of cash, and the services of prostitutes, the document said.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors on Tuesday filed a new indictment against Beliveau, charging him with conspiracy and bribery.
Prosecutors have said in court they are developing other cases against Francis and employees of his company. A handful of US navy officers have also been charged.
Beliveau faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines, according to Gretchen Von Helms, his lawyer.
He is set to be sentenced on March 7, and is now free on $30,000 bond.