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Former Contracting Officer Sentenced To Six Years In Navy Bribery Case

USS Nimitz Sailors and their families and friends spell out "NIMITZ" on the flight deck during the ship's 2010 Tiger Cruise.
U.S. Navy
USS Nimitz Sailors and their families and friends spell out "NIMITZ" on the flight deck during the ship's 2010 Tiger Cruise.

A former Department of Defense supervisory contracting officer who accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for steering Navy contracts to a foreign defense contractor was sentenced Friday to six years in federal prison.

Paul Simpkins, 62, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery, admitting that during the years-long scheme, Glenn "Fat Leonard" Francis — the president and CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia — provided him with money through wire transfers to a clandestine foreign bank account controlled by his former wife.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino ordered Simpkins to pay a $50,000 fine, forfeit $450,000 of the proceeds from the criminal activity and pay $450,000 in restitution to the U.S. Navy.

A total of 16 defendants have been charged in connection with the corruption and fraud investigation.

"With premeditation beyond that of many of the other defendants in the case, Simpkins methodically plotted to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribe money and launder it through a secret foreign bank account in someone else's name," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "We tip our hat to the investigators who discovered this crime and brought the perpetrator to justice. With the lengthy prison sentence imposed today, we take another step on this long journey toward deterring future misconduct and restoring the public's trust in our most storied institutions."

Simpkins admitted that from May 2006 to September 2012, he participated in a bribery scheme with Francis in which he accepted travel and entertainment expenses, the services of prostitutes and at least $300,000 in monetary payments in exchange for helping to steer lucrative U.S. Navy contracts to Francis and GDMA.

In return for the money and other things of value, Simpkins used his influence within the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA, including by helping GDMA to secure lucrative ship husbanding contracts to service U.S. Navy vessels in Thailand and the Philippines.

Including Simpkins, 11 of the 16 individuals charged in the case are current or former U.S. Navy officials.

Most of the defendants — including Francis — have pleaded guilty.