Prison-Bound U.S. Navy Captain Tagged as Sell-Out for Bribes

  • Dusek is highest-ranking official charged in corruption scheme
  • Asia-based contractor pleaded guilty in 2015 to illegal gifts

The highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer convicted in a bribery scheme with a Singapore-based contractor involving cash, gifts and prostitutes was ordered to serve almost four years in prison by a judge who said the captain put national security at stake when he sold out.

U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino in San Diego sentenced Captain Daniel Dusek Friday to 46 months of incarceration following his guilty plea last year to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. She also imposed a $70,000 fine and ordered Dusek to pay $30,000 in restitution.

The judge said it was “unimaginable to the court that someone in your position would sell out” in a conspiracy in which she said Navy officials were plied with “meals, hotel rooms, entertainment and prostitutes.”

“Your actions were potentially jeopardizing national security,” Sammartino said.

Dusek, 49, and other Navy officers were accused of taking bribes from Glenn Defense Marine (Asia), which had contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars for servicing American ships at ports in Southeast Asia, in exchange for disclosing classified information. The corruption scandal ranks among the worst for the U.S. armed forces in a quarter century.

‘Never Forgive’

Dusek apologized to the judge for his crimes and said he “will never forgive myself.”

“This guilt will be in my heart for the rest of my life,” he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Pletcher described Dusek as “near royalty” in the Navy because of his rank of captain. The prosecutor said Dusek “was in an incredibly influential position” in the conspiracy to defraud the government and “did what he was asked” by Glenn Defense Marine.

Defense attorney Douglas Applegate told the judge that while Dusek initially was “not forthright” with investigators, he was the first officer in the case to come forward and self-report his crimes. He also said the investigation is casting a wide net.

‘200 Officers’

“There are probably close to 200 officers still being investigated,” Applegate said, adding that “there are still high-ranking admirals under investigation.”

Pletcher declined to comment after the hearing comment about the defense attorney’s comments except to say, “The investigation is continuing.”

“This outcome again sends the message that corruption will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” James B. Burch, director of the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, said in a statement about Friday’s sentencing.

The contractor at the center of the case, Leonard Glenn Francis, who was chief executive officer of Glenn Defense Marine, pleaded guilty in January 2015 and faces as long as 25 years in prison when he’s sentenced later this year. He paid Navy commanders for information about where U.S. ships were scheduled to dock and for help steering vessels to ports that were the most lucrative for his company, according to prosecutors.

The government also has won guilty pleas from two Navy commanders, a lieutenant commander, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and two of Francis’s employees. A former civilian employee of the Defense Department awaits trial, according to prosecutors.

The case is U.S. v. Dusek, 15-cr-00131, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (San Diego).

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