SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former executive for a defense contractor pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego Tuesday to a conspiracy charge, admitting he and others duped the U.S. Navy into overpaying by at least $20 million for supplies and services to American ships in Asian ports.
Alex Wisidagama faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced June 13 by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino.
Wisidagama's plea is the second in an extensive international fraud and bribery scandal that has ensnared employees of Glenn Defense Marine Asia and several U.S. Navy officials.
Prosecutors allege that Wisidagama's cousin and owner of GDMA, Leonard Glenn Francis, bribed Navy officials with luxury travel and prostitutes in exchange for confidential information and other help in winning and retaining hundreds of millions of dollars in Navy contracts.
In his plea agreement, Wisidagama, who lives in Singapore, admitted he and others used numerous methods to trick the Navy into overpaying for things like fuel and port fees.
Wisidagama, 40, and others submitted fraudulent or inflated invoices to the Navy, offered up phony competitive bids from non-existent companies so GDMA could win every time and created fictitious port authorities with significantly inflated port tariff rates, according to the plea agreement.
In December, former NCIS Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau Jr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery charges, after admitting he provided Francis with sensitive law enforcement information in exchange for cash, luxury travel accommodations, dinners and prostitutes.
In addition to Beliveau and Wisidagama, Francis and U.S. Navy Cmdrs. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Jose Luis Sanchez have been charged as part of the bribery scheme.