Former Defense Contractor Executive Extradited from Thailand to United States to Face Charges for Participation in Massive Scheme to Defraud the U.S Navy
Mark W. Pletcher (619) 546-9714 and Michelle L. Wasserman (619) 546-8431
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – March 8, 2021
SAN DIEGO, CA (STL.News) Pornpun Settaphakorn, a former executive of foreign defense contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) who oversaw the company’s Thailand office, appeared in federal court in San Diego following her extradition last week from Thailand.
Settaphakorn, also known as “Yin,” was charged with participating in a conspiracy to submit fraudulent price quotes, claims and invoices to the U.S. Navy in an effort to steal millions of dollars as part of a years-long fraud scheme.
The indictment in this case, returned December 23, 2014, alleges that Settaphakorn, along with co-defendants Neil Peterson and Linda Raja, among others, submitted false claims of more than $5 million. In addition, according to the indictment, Settaphakorn worked to perpetuate and cover up the fraud by consistently misrepresenting to the U.S. Navy the cost of providing services to its ships in Asia, even going so far as to submit false price quotes from non-existent companies, on letterhead created from graphics cut and pasted from the Internet. Settaphakorn is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and multiple counts of making false claims.
Like Settaphakorn, co-defendants Peterson and Raja, both of Singapore, worked as chief deputies for foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis to fill the coffers of their company, GDMA, at the expense of the U.S. Navy. Peterson served as GDMA’s Vice President for Global Operations, and Raja served as the company’s General Manager for Singapore, Australia, and the Pacific Isles. Peterson and Raja were extradited from Singapore in October 2016, and both have since pleaded guilty for their participation in the massive scheme to defraud the U.S Navy. In 2017, Peterson was sentenced to 70 months in prison, and Raja to 46 months in prison. Both were ordered to pay $34.8 million in restitution. Peterson and Raja have served their sentences and been returned to Singapore.
At hearing, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford, Settaphakorn was detained pending trial. The next hearing in this matter is April 9, 2021, before U.S. District Court Judge Janis L. Sammartino.
“Whoever you are, whever you are in the world, and however long it takes, justice awaits those who imperil the U.S. Navy,” said Randy S. Grossman, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. Grossman praised prosecutors Mark Pletcher and Michelle Wasserman and agents from DCIS and NCIS for their extraordinary work on this case.
“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,” said Bryan D. Denny, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Western Field Office. “This action is but one example of the comprehensive actions DCIS and its parnters will utilize to pursue justice for the Warfighter.”
“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,” said Special Agent in Charge Eric Maddox of the NCIS Economic Crimes Field Office. “NCIS and our law enforcement partners remain dedicated to rooting out corruption and fraud that threatens the integrity of the Navy.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Grossman specifically acknowledged the indispensable contributions to this case of the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs; U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand; the U.S. Marshals Service, and the authorities of the Kingdom of Thailand.
Anyone with information relating to fraud or corruption connected to the United States military should contact the NCIS anonymous tip line at www.ncis.navy.mil or the DOD Hotline at www.dodig.mil/hotline, or call (800) 424-9098.
*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
DEFENDANT Residence Case Number Age
Pornpun Settaphakorn (“Yin”) Bangkok, Thailand 14CR0623-JLS 41
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Defraud the United States With Respect To Claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 286
Maximum Penalty: Ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine
False Claims, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287
Maximum Penalty: Five years in prison and a $250,000 fine
Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349 and 1343
Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison and a $250,000 fine
Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Defense Contract Audit Agency