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Monday
Oct172016

NCIS agent jailed 12 years in bribes-for-secrets case

A former Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) supervisory special agent was sentenced in federal court Friday to 144 months in prison for disclosing sensitive law enforcement reports to a defense contractor in return for bribes.

John Beliveau, 47, of York, Pennsylvania, took cash, luxury travel, and the services of prostitutes from a Singapore-based contractor who was the target of a criminal fraud investigation.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino in San Diego also ordered Beliveau to pay $20 million in restitution to the Navy. 

Beliveau helped former Glenn Defense Marine Asia CEO Leonard Glenn Francis defraud the U.S. Navy by providing information that allowed Francis "to avoid, stall and thwart criminal investigations" into misconduct, the DOJ said.

Francis -- also known as "Fat Leonard" -- has pleaded guilty to bribing scores of U.S. Navy officials with travel, meals, cash, electronics, parties, and prostitutes.

The scandal has engulfed the Navy's Pacific Command.

So far, sixteen defendants have been charged in the case. Of those, 11 are current or former U.S. Navy officials.

Nine defendants have pleaded guilty. Five have now been sentenced. Beliveau's 12-year prison sentence is the longest so far in the scandal.

The highest-ranking officer charged in the case is Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau. He pleaded guilty in June to lying to investigators and destroying evidence about his relationship with Francis.

Three other rear admirals including the commander of naval forces in Japan retired last year after the Secretary of the Navy censured them for the Fat Leonard scandal.

The DOJ said Friday that Beliveau regularly searched confidential NCIS databases for reports about investigations into Fat Leonard and his company.

"Over the course of years, he helped Francis avoid multiple criminal investigations by providing copies of these reports," the DOJ said.

The reports Beliveau gave Francis revealed the names of probe targets and information about cooperating witnesses and their testimony.

Beliveau tried to cover his own tracks. He asked Francis to delete incriminating emails and deactivate an email account, and warned Francis about indictments and a warrant on his email account.

In July 2011, Beliveau told Francis how to answer NCIS investigators asking about a fraudulent claim Glenn Defense submitted to the U.S. Navy for dockage and wharfage fees when ships visited ports in Thailand.

Francis bribed Beliveau with envelopes of cash and luxury travel from Virginia to Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. 

"On many occasions, beginning in 2008 and continuing through 2012, while Beliveau was posted in Singapore, Francis provided him with prostitutes, lavish dinners, entertainment and alcohol at high-end nightclubs," the DOJ said.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.