Thai woman faces charges for involvement in “massive scheme” to defraud the US Navy

Photo via flickr/Official US Navy page

In what the United States Department of Justice calls a “massive scheme” to defraud the US Navy, a Thai woman who oversaw the foreign defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia office in Thailand is facing charges for involvement in submitting false price quotes, claims and invoices to the US Navy which added up to more than $5 million USD. She was extradited from Thailand and appeared in federal court in San Diego, California on Monday.

The Department of Justice says 41 year old Pornpun “Yin” Settaphakorn, a former executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia from Bangkok, attempted to cover up the fraud by “consistently misrepresenting” the service costs for its ships in Asia. The department says Yin even submitted bogus price quotes from fake companies using a letterhead she created with a graphics found online.

Yin is facing charges for conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and multiple counts of making false claims. The charges hold maximum penalties ranging from 5 to 20 years in prison.

The Singapore-based Glenn Marine Group has been under investigation by US officials for the past several years with dozens of people charged including Navy officials. Back in 2015, the owner and chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, Leonard Glenn Francis, pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges.

The Department of Justice says Leonard admitted that he “presided over a massive, decade-long conspiracy involving ‘scores’ of U.S. Navy officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud and millions of dollars in bribes and gifts – from cash, prostitutes and luxury travel to Cuban cigars, Kobe beef and Spanish suckling pigs.”

Yin was named in a 2014 indictment along with 2 former executives from Singapore, 39 year old Neil Peterson and 44 year old Linda Raja, for submitting false claims of more than $5 million USD.

Peterson and Raja were both sentenced to prison in 2017 for conspiring to submit bogus claims and invoices to the US Navy in what the Department of Justice says was “an effort to win contracts and overcharge the U.S. Navy by tens of millions of dollars as part of a years-long corruption and fraud scheme.” Peterson and Raja have served their sentences and have since returned to Singapore.

Yin’s extradition to the US is a “significant legal victory,” Special Agent in Charge Eric Maddox of the NCIS Economic Crimes Field Office said in a recent press release, adding that law enforcement officials are dedicated to rooting out corruption and fraud that threatens the integrity of the US Navy.

“Settaphakorn’s extradition from Thailand to the United States marks a significant legal victory for the U.S. criminal justice system and the U.S. Navy, as Settaphakorn deserves to be held fully accountable in U.S. federal court for her alleged role in GDMA’s years-long scheme to defraud the Navy.”

Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service Bryan D. Denny also said the extradition is a “monumental step” in the legal process.

“The extradition of Pornpun Settaphakorn from Thailand to the United States is a monumental step in the judicial process to hold Settaphakron accountable for her alleged involvement in the sprawling, years-long scheme to defraud the U.S. Navy and the American taxpayer that was orchestarted by the disgraced Department of Defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia, Ltd. and its chief executive officer Leonard France.”

SOURCE: US Department of Justice

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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