Two former executives of a Singapore-based contractor were charged on Thursday for their involvement in a multi-million dollar Navy bribery scheme. More than a dozen U.S. Navy Officers and Pentagon employees have also been charged in the case.
Neil Peterson, 38, and Linda Raja, 43, former executives of Glenn Defense Marine Asia were arrested and are currently being held in Singapore. Both worked for Malaysian businessman Leonard Glenn Francis, known by his nickname “Fat Leonard." Peterson served as the Vice President of the company and Raja was as General Manager for Singapore, Australia and the Pacific Isles.
According to the indictment, Peterson and Raja submitted false claims and invoices amounting to more than $5 million dollars to the U.S. Navy, and attempted to cover up their fraud by submitting false price quotes on letterheads from companies that did not exist. Both allegedly cut and pasted images from the internet onto letterheads to make the companies appear legitimate.
NBC 7 has been following this investigation since September 2013.
“Fat Leonard” plead guilty in January 2015 to bribing senior navy officials in exchange for specific U.S. Navy warship movements so his company could overbill the Pentagon.
A total of 16 defendants have been charged in connection to the investigation against the Malaysian businessman’s company, including Patterson and Raja.
In June, Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau became the first highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer to be charged in the case. He pleaded guilty to one felony charge in connection to the years-long corruption and fraud scheme.
Former civilian Defense Department Officer Paul Simpkins also entered a guilty plea in a federal court in San Diego.
Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edmond A. Aruffo, U.S. Navy Capt. Daniel Dusek, U.S. Navy Captain (Select) Michael Misiewicz, Lieutenant Commander Todd Malaki, NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez and U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug have also pleaded guilty. Layug, Malaki, Dusek, and Misiwicz have all been sentenced while Gilbeau, Beliveau, Sanchez, Simpkins and Aruffo await their sentencing.
Brooks, Pitts and Debord were charged in May 2016 and their cases are pending.
Lt. Commander Gentry Debord, Captain (ret.) Michael Brooks and Commander Bobby Pitts were charged in May of this year. Their cases are still pending.
Peterson and Raja are each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and multiple counts of making false claims. Both are being held in custody in Singapore before they are extradited to the United States.