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Two executives charged for defrauding Navy with ship work in Navy fraud scandal

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Two former executives of a foreign defense contractor have been charged in San Diego federal court with participating in a yearslong scheme to defraud the Navy, prosecutors said Thursday.

Neil Peterson, 38, and Linda Raja, 43, both of Singapore, worked as chief deputies for Malaysian businessman Leonard Glenn Fat Leonard Francis, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

The company performed ship servicing work for Navy vessels in ports across Southeast Asia.

Francis is at the center of the expanding corruption scheme in which he bribed officers and civilians with cash, gifts and prostitutes. Those who accepted the bribes then helped Francis get Navy ships assigned to call at ports he controlled.

Francis overbilled the Navy for services including sewage disposal and ground transport, prosecutors said.

He pleaded guilty to charges in U.S. District Court and will have to pay $35 million in restitution.

The U.S. Attorneys Office has said Peterson was the contractors vice president for global operations and Raja served as general manager for Singapore, Australia and the Pacific Islands. They are accused of submitting fraudulent claims of more than $5 million to the Navy, then working to cover up the fraud by misrepresenting the cost of providing services to ships in Asia.

According to the indictment, unsealed Wednesday, the pair submitted false price quotes from non-existent companies on letterhead that was created from graphics lifted from the internet.

Peterson and Raja each face one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and several counts of making false claims.

They are under arrest and are being held in Singapore, awaiting extradition to the United States, prosecutors said.

In total, 16 people have been charged in connection with the Glenn Defense Marine Asia corruption and fraud investigation. Of those, 11 are current or former Navy officials.

Several defendants have pleaded guilty to federal charges and have been sentenced to prison. Others, including Francis, await sentencing.

Cases filed against five defendants, including Peterson and Raja, are still pending.

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