Virginia Beach Navy officer accused of swindling government sentenced

NORFOLK — A Virginia Beach-based naval officer accused of helping to swindle the government out of $2.7 million in order to fund a high-stakes poker habit, buy luxury vehicles and a second home has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison.

Lt. Randolph Prince was sentenced this week after pleading guilty in August to offenses, including wire fraud. The 41-year-old naval officer was ordered to pay more than $2,700,000 in restitution.

Court documents show Prince steered government contracts to sham companies that were run by his friends. They sold the Navy “inert training aids,” or fake bombs, that weren’t shipped but marked as delivered.

A naval flight officer and a former sailor were among Prince’s co-conspirators. Both have pleaded guilty to participating in the fraud.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.