An Indian-origin Singaporean woman, Gursharan Kaur Sharon Rachael, 57, was jailed up to three years for her role in the largest and most extensive bribery and fraud conspiracy in the history of the United States Navy.
Gursharan committed the offences while she was a former lead contract specialist with the US Navy and based in Singapore. She had the responsibility of managing ship husbanding contracts worth millions of dollar, with duties such as drafting contract requirements, including negotiating and evaluating bids. Before she resigned in 2015, she had been an employee of the US Government for more than 25 years.
Sentencing her to jail term of around 33 months for three charges of corruption and one for dealing with benefits of criminal conduct, District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said that there was "flagrant abuse of trust and authority…..a high level of premeditation, with steps taken to avoid detection, a sustained period of offending of seven years and a high amount of gratification by the accused”.
The accused reportedly received over SGD130,000 in bribes from Leonard Glenn Francis, the Malaysian CEO of maritime services company Glenn Defense Marine (Asia) (GDMA), in exchange for sensitive US Navy information. Between 2006 and 2013, Gursharan disclosed non-public information from the US Navy to Francis, which helped GDMA clinch 11 contracts worth a total of about USD 48 million, out of 14 contracts that the company bid for, according to the investigations by the CPIB. Gursharan provided sensitive information pertaining to pricing strategies, price information of GDMA's competitors and questions that the contracts review board had posed to GDMA's competitors. Francis, the CEO of GDMA also nicknamed Fat Leonard, is in custody in the US and faces a maximum custodial term of 25 years for defrauding the navy of more than USD 35 million.
The fraud was uncovered after GDMA became the focus of investigations in the US in 2012. Importantly, 12 US Navy officials pleaded guilty in the US, while the highest-ranking official involved, Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau, was sentenced to 18 months' jail for making false statements to investigators.