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Tuesday
Dec172013

Dirty NCIS Agent Made 'Catastrophic Mistake,' Lawyer Says

File photo. U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Wolpert(WASHINGTON) -- The NCIS agent who acted as a mole inside his agency for a foreign defense contractor pleaded guilty Tuesday, admitting he made a "catastrophic mistake" in trading secret information for perks including luxury travel and hookers, the agent’s attorney told ABC News.

Naval Criminal Investigative Services Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau II was charged in September with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery for his role in what prosecutors called a "massive fraud" that has rocked the Navy in recent months.

According to prosecutors, Beliveau worked against the NCIS to protect a Singapore-based husbandry contractor called Glenn Defense Marine (Asia) (GDMA). The military and NCIS had launched multiple investigations into GDMA and its head, Malaysian national Leonard Francis, based on accusations of widespread bribery of other Naval officials. Beliveau allegedly gave GDMA confidential information about that investigation, including reports from the NCIS database, and advised the head of the company on how to best respond to investigative inquiries.

Beliveau provided those services for, "among other things, paid travel, luxury hotels stays and prostitution services," prosecutors allege.

Much of the government's case against Beliveau stemmed from colorful emails he allegedly exchanged with Francis, including one in which court documents say Beliveau wrote, "You give your whores more money than me ;)."

Three months after his arrest, Beliveau's attorney, Jessica Carmichael, told ABC News Tuesday Beliveau has accepted a plea deal with the government.

"He's accepting responsibility. He is prepared to move forward with his life," Carmichael said. "This is an uncharacteristic event in his life and a catastrophic mistake."

Carmichael declined to discuss the plea agreement further and declined to say if it meant Beliveau would be working with investigators on the larger case.

Beliveau was among the first arrested in the still-expanding bribery scandal. The same day he was taken into custody in September, authorities arrested Francis, known in Naval circles as "Fat Leonard," and Cambodian-born U.S. Navy Captain-Select Michael Misiewicz.

Francis stands at the epicenter of the investigation, accused of bribing multiple high-level officials with luxury travel, prostitutes and other perks including Lady Gaga tickets, in exchange for confidential information on ship movements and other favors that would help GDMA. GDMA provides Navy ships with port services like tug boats, waste disposal and fuel to the tune of millions of dollars per visit.

The scandal has reached as high as the head of Naval intelligence, Vice Adm. Ted Branch, whose access to classified material was revoked in October for his alleged link to GDMA. Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless was similarly suspended from accessing classified information as part of the same investigation.

"The allegations against Admirals Branch and Loveless involve inappropriate conduct prior to their current assignments and flag officer rank," the Navy said when announcing the suspensions. "There is no indication, nor do the allegations suggest, that in either case there was any breach of classified information."

In November a third Navy officer, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, was arrested in Florida and charged with giving Francis classified information in exchange for prostitutes, luxury travel and $10,000 cash.

"According to the allegations in this case, a number of officials were willing to sacrifice their integrity and millions of taxpayer dollars for personal gratification," U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said upon Sanchez’s arrest.

All those charged in the scandal so far, except Beliveau, have pleaded not guilty. Beliveau is scheduled to appear in a California court later Tuesday to make his guilty plea.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio