WASHINGTON - A former U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday for disclosing sensitive law-enforcement information to a defense contractor whose company was under investigation. In exchange, he received cash, luxury travel and the services of prostitutes, the U.S. Justice Department said.
John Bertrand Beliveau Jr., 47, of York, Pennsylvania, was also ordered to pay $20 million in restitution to the U.S. Navy, according to the Justice Department, which said the defendant was given what may be the stiffest prison term ever handed down to a federal agent in a corruption case.
Beliveau pleaded guilty to helping former Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) Chief Executive Officer Leonard Glenn Francis, also known as “Fat Leonard,” by providing sensitive reports that allowed Francis to thwart a criminal fraud investigation of his company, the Justice Department said.
GDMA provided large U.S. Navy ships in-port husbandry services, such as refueling, waste disposal and laundry, at ports throughout Southeast Asia. The defense contractor was under investigation for overbilling the Navy by at least $35 million.
According to his plea agreement, Beliveau acknowledged that he regularly searched confidential NCIS databases for reports of investigations related to Francis and GDMA. Over the course of years, the reports he relayed to Francis helped the contractor and his firm avoid multiple criminal charges.
Prosecutors said they believe Beliveau shared hundreds of internal files with Francis. In return, they said, GDMA executives arranged prostitutes for Beliveau, funneled large cash payments to him, and sent him on trips around Asia.
“John Beliveau’s deceit was a devastating blow to the U.S. Navy and ultimately the nation that he was sworn to protect,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. The disgraced agent, she added, “single-handedly destroyed” the trust and credibility that had marked NCIS.
“Beliveau tarnished his NCIS badge and sold sensitive law enforcement information for envelopes of cash, luxury travel and tawdry entertainment,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement. “His actions risked ... the safety of witnesses who agreed to cooperate with law enforcement under the belief that their identities would be protected.”
Beliveau apologized in a letter to the court and asked for forgiveness.
Francis is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to bribing Navy officials with more than $500,000 in cash and other gifts, which helped him beat out competitors and overbill the Navy.
A Navy lieutenant commander, Gentry Debord, 41, pleaded guilty Thursday to bribery charges. He admitted to giving Francis confidential ship information and advice on how to best scam the Navy during those visits, in exchange for illicit benefits similar to those Beliveau received. He is one of 16 people charged in the corruption case, most of them current or former Navy officials.
So far, Beliveau’s sentence called for the most prison time. The fine imposed on him is second only to the payment of $34.8 million demanded from Alex Wisidagama, one of five GDMA executives charged in the case, who pleaded guilty seven months ago.
Some material for this report came from AP and Reuters.