Ex-Defense Department employee sentenced to 6 years

AP News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2016 6:55 PM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A retired Department of Defense contracting supervisor was sentenced Friday to six years in prison for accepting bribes from a Malaysian businessman nicknamed "Fat Leonard" who is at the center of the Navy's worst corruption case.

Paul Simpkins, who was sentenced in federal court in San Diego, pleaded guilty in June to steering multi-million dollar Navy contracts to Leonard Glenn Francis in exchange for more than $300,000 in payments, the services of prostitutes and other bribes.

Francis, whose nickname comes from his large girth, has pleaded guilty to fraud that helped his ship supply company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, bilk the Navy out of nearly $35 million by overcharging the maritime branch and trumping up fees for supplying its ships in the Pacific. He is awaiting sentencing in the case. A total of 16 people, including nearly a dozen current and former Navy officials, have been charged so far in the scandal.

Simpkins was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, forfeit $450,000 in criminal proceeds and pay $450,000 in restitution to the Navy. Neither Simpkins nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.

Simpkins held a number of managerial-level contracting positions throughout the federal government, including as a supervisory contract specialist for the U.S. Navy in Singapore from April 2005 through June 2007, and as an assistant director in the Department of Defense's office of small business programs from December 2007 to August 2012.

Simpkins admitted in his plea agreement to accepting bribes from Francis from May 2006 to September 2012. In one email, Simpkins asked Francis to provide "some clean, disease free" women during an upcoming visit to Singapore.

Simpkins admitted to providing Francis with internal Navy information and intervened on Francis' behalf in contract disputes.

Prosecutors say Simpkins worked to suspend at least one of Francis' competitors, prevented staff from reviewing the company's invoices, and overruled a lieutenant who recommended against extending one of the company's contracts because of high prices.