This officer cheated the Navy so off to prison he goes

A Virginia Beach naval officer was sentenced earlier this month to more than four years in prison for his role in a $2.7 million procurement fraud scheme, and for lying on his federal income tax return.

According to court documents, Randolph M. Prince, 45, was an officer at a Naval Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit based in Virginia Beach in charge of procurement.

From Spring 2014 until Fall 2015, “Prince took advantage of his role within his command to steer government contracts to businesses of his choosing,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. “These businesses were companies formed by Prince’s associates and purporting to be legitimate sub-vendors of military equipment, despite being vendors of nothing at all. “

In order to steer the contracts, Prince and others rigged bids, substituted products on purchase orders, and used fraudulent invoices and delivery documents to make the purchases appear legitimate, according to court papers.

In the end, Prince ensured his command spent upwards of $2.7 million on purchase orders to the sham companies, knowing all along that the Navy would receive nothing in return.

The items ostensibly purchased for Prince’s unit were “inert training aids” and are destroyed in routine training for Navy EOD units. Because Prince was responsible for the ordering of goods up-front, and confirming their delivery on the back-end, he was able to perpetrate the scheme for over 18 months without his command becoming aware.

Prince and others pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the scheme, money that Prince failed to report as income on his 2014 tax return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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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.