“Retired Admiral Robert P. Burke Arrested Over Bribery Scheme”



Retired four-star Adm. Robert P. Burke has been arrested on federal bribery charges for awarding a contract to a company in 2021 in exchange for a job and stock options. Also arrested were the founders of technology services firm Next Jump, which allegedly provided the job and benefits. Burke denies the charges, pointing out the discrepancy in the value of the contract versus the salary he received.

Former High-Ranking Naval Officer Arrested on Federal Bribery Charges

The ex-second-in-command of the Navy and commander of naval forces in Europe and Africa, Robert P. Burke, was arrested on Friday on federal bribery charges. The Justice Department alleges Burke awarded a sole-source contract to a company in 2021 in return for a $500,000 yearly job and stock options.

The retired four-star Adm. now faces the possibility of becoming the second U.S. admiral found guilty of committing a federal crime while on active duty. Also arrested were Yongchul “Charlie” Kim and Meghan Messenger, founders of the New York-based tech services firm Next Jump.

All three face bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery charges, which may result in up to 20 years in prison. Burke’s charges also include performing acts affecting a personal financial interest and concealing material facts, both punishable by up to 30 years.

Tim Parlatore, Burke’s attorney, has strongly denied these charges, stating that there’s no connection between this contract and the job. However, the indictment’s description suggests that the unnamed business involved is Next Jump, a New York City company with the U.S. Navy listed as a customer. Here’s a social media announcement showing that Burke joined Next Jump in October 2022, aligning with the indictment’s timeline.

Federal law enforcement and military officials argue that these charges underscore their commitment to eliminating fraud within the Defense Department. U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves stated that “The law does not make exceptions for admirals or CEOs,” emphasizing the urgency of the situation when senior government and executive officers are involved in corruption.

Before his 2022 retirement, Burke held significant roles in naval operations across Europe, Russia, and most of Africa. As part of his career, he succeeded retired Adm. William Moran, who was slated to take over as the Navy’s top officer before unexpectedly retiring over inappropriate conduct allegations.

Government investigators allege that Burke exploited his four-star admiral position to secure a sole-source contract for Next Jump in exchange for a future job. They also claim that Burke ordered his staff to award a $355,000 contract to the company, despite creating the appearance that he played no role in issuing the contract. The government alleges that Burke started working at Next Jump in October 2022 at a yearly starting salary of $500,000 and a grant of 100,000 stock options.

Only one U.S. Navy admiral, Rear Adm. Robert Gilbeau, has ever been found guilty of committing a federal crime while on active duty. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for lying to federal agents about his involvement in a significant Navy corruption scandal.

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