Highest officer in US Navy bribe scheme sentenced to 46 months

U.S. Navy Captain gets 46 months for bribery
U.S. Navy Captain gets 46 months for bribery

SAN DIEGO, March 25 (Reuters) - A federal judge in San Diego on Friday sentenced a U.S. Navy captain caught in a $30 million bribery scandal to 46 months in prison, bringing to a close the case against the highest-ranking officer in the fraud scheme.

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Captain Daniel Dusek, 49, pleaded guilty last year to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery after admitting he accepted services from prostitutes, luxury hotel stays, alcohol and other gifts in exchange for giving classified information to the Singapore-based company Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

The firm headed by Malaysian businessman Leonard Glenn Francis, who has been dubbed "Fat Leonard," held over $200 million in contracts to clean, stock and maintain U.S. Pacific Fleet ships.

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Francis has admitted to obtaining classified ship scheduling in exchange for bribes, which allowed him to make more money on his contracts by knowing when Navy ships would be available for servicing.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino in sentencing Dusek to 46 months in prison said his actions could have jeopardized national security.

"It's truly unimaginable to the court that someone in your position with the U.S. Navy would sell out based on what was provided to you - hotel rooms, entertainment and the services of prostitutes," Sammartino said.

Dusek apologized for his actions, saying he would never forgive himself for what he had done.

"This guilt will be in my heart for the rest of my life," he said.

Francis and Glenn Defense Marine Asia pleaded guilty in January 2015 to bribery and fraud charges. The company overcharged the Navy more than $25 million, according to his plea agreement.

So far, 10 people, including seven naval officers have been charged in the scheme, including a Naval Criminal Investigative Services agent and two commanders. All but one have entered a guilty plea.

Three admirals, who are now retired, were also censured for their improper relationships with Francis and his company.

Dusek was the commander of the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, then the commander of the U.S. Essex and the deputy director of operations for the 7th Fleet.

Sammartino fined Dusek $70,000 and order him to pay $30,000 in restitution to the Navy. (Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Cynthia Osterman)