Armed Forces News

A Navy contracting officer became the latest person to face punishment for his role in the so-called “Fat Leonard” scandal. Paul Simpkins, 62, of Haymarket, Va., was sentenced Dec. 4 in a California federal court to 72 months in prison, ordered to pay $450,000 in restitution, forfeit $150,000, and pay a $50,000 fine. Simpkins pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery on June 23. According to a Justice Department statement, Simpkins became involved with the illegal activity while working as a supervisory contract specialist at the Navy’s contracting center in Singapore between 2005 and 2007. He admitted to taking part in bribery schemes that involved accepting travel and entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes in exchange for steering Navy contracts toward Leonard Francis, the president of Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Simpkins is one of 16 persons facing charges in the scheme. Francis earlier had admitted to overbilling the Navy for more than $35 million in contract work, and is awaiting sentencing.