- Associated Press - Friday, January 29, 2016

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A federal judge on Friday sentenced a Navy officer to 40 months in prison for providing confidential ship routes that enabled a Malaysian contractor to bilk the Navy out of at least $20 million.

Lt. Cmdr. Todd Dale Malaki provided the routes in exchange for cash, the services of a prostitute and luxury hotel stays in Singapore, Hong Kong and the island of Tonga.

Malaki is among nine defendants who have pleaded guilty to bribery charges including the case’s central figure, Singapore-based executive Leonard Francis. The gregarious businessman bribed Navy officials with extravagant gifts to obtain information that helped his Glenn Defense Marine Asia steer ships to Pacific ports with lax oversight, where Francis’ company submitted fake tariffs and other fees, according to the criminal complaint. Francis is awaiting sentencing.

Only one defendant is still fighting the charges. Prosecutors have suggested there still could be arrests in the ongoing investigation that has rocked one of the world’s largest Navy fleets.

Malaki is accused of providing the classified schedules of U.S. Navy ships and submarines to Francis’ company, which has been resupplying Navy vessels for more than 20 years. Prosecutors say he also gave the company proprietary invoicing information about the competition.

He told Judge Janis L. Sammartino that he regretted his actions before he was sentenced Friday in San Diego.

Sammartino told the court that a more significant sentence was warranted because of Malaki’s long-term corruption over more than seven years. She said Malaki’s case was “one of the most serious offenses the court has seen in its tenure in the Southern District of California.”

The judge ordered Malaki, 44, to pay a $15,000 fine and $15,000 in restitution to the Navy.

Malaki’s defense attorney, Jeremiah Sullivan, said his client has taken responsibility for what he did.

“He dedicated 26 years of his life to serving the Navy and his country and he let everyone down,” Sullivan said. “It pains him that he hurt so many.”

Malaki had faced a maximum of five years in prison. He is the second defendant to be sentenced. Last week, Navy Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug was sentenced to 27 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bribery.

Malaki’s sentencing comes a day after Navy Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz, one of the highest ranking officers charged in the case, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a public official. He faces up to 20 years in prison if sentenced to the maximum amount for both charges. Prosecutors say he and Francis moved ships like chess pieces.

In 2010, Misiewicz caught the world’s attention when he made an emotional return as a U.S. Naval commander to his native Cambodia, where he had been rescued as a child from the violence of the Khmer Rouge and adopted by an American woman. His homecoming was widely covered by international media.

His sentencing hearing was set for April 29.

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