Thai woman now in California over huge Navy corruption case

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A former executive for a Singapore-based defense contractor linked to a sweeping corruption scandal that cost the Navy some $35 million appeared Tuesday in a California courtroom to face federal charges.

Pornpun “Yin” Settaphakorn appeared before a judge in San Diego and was ordered detained pending another hearing next month.

Settephakorn, of Thailand, was extradited from that country last week, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Last Friday, she pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and making false claims.

Settphakorn oversaw the Thailand office of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which provided fuel, food and other services to Navy ships in Pacific ports.

Prosecutors said the firm and its owner, known by his nickname of “Fat Leonard” Francis, bribed Navy officers with fancy gifts, trips and prostitutes to provide classified information in order to beat competitors and overcharge for services.

The scheme cost the Navy some $35 million.

Settaphakorn was charged in 2014 with involvement in a conspiracy to submit fraudulent price quotes, claims and invoices for about $5 million to the Navy.

More than a dozen Navy and company officials, including Leonard and an admiral, have pleaded guilty in the case.

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This story has been corrected to show the defense contractor was based in Singapore, not Malaysia.

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