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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Retired US Navy Admiral Arrested for Bribery

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 3, 2024

Robert Burke (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Robert Burke (Photo: U.S. Navy)

A retired U.S. Navy admiral and two business executives were arrested on criminal charges related to a bribery scheme involving a U.S. government contract.

An indictment unsealed on May 31 alleges that from 2020 to 2022, Robert Burke—once the Navy’s second-highest-ranking officer—used his status to help the executives of New York-based workplace tech platform Next Jump win military contracts.

Admiral Burke disputes the charge and plans to plead not guilt, Burke’s attorney told the media.

From 2018 to 2019, Next Jump piloted a workforce training program with a small component of the Navy, according to the DOJ. The contract was terminated later in 2019, and Next Jump was allegedly instructed to cut off contact with Burke.

However, in July 2021, according to the DOJ’s account, Burke allegedly met with the company's co-CEOs, Yongchul “Charlie” Kim and Meghan Messenger, and worked out a deal said to be worth “triple-digit millions.” In exchange, Kim and Messenger promised Burke employment at their company, the DOJ alleges.

In December 2021, Burke allegedly told his staff to award Kim and Messenger a $355,000 military contract to train the troops he was commanding in Italy and Spain. He allegedly continued pushing other officers to use Next Jump and later tried to hide his role in promoting the product with “false and misleading statements to the Navy,” the DOJ claimed.

In 2022, Burke started working as a senior partner at Next Jump with a starting annual salary of $500,000 and 100,000 stock options, the DOJ said.

Burke, Kim and Messenger are each charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery. Burke is also charged with performing acts affecting a personal financial interest and concealing material facts from the United States. If convicted, Burke faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and Kim and Messenger each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.