Friday, May 19, 2017

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday for lying about his 20-year relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis, the owner of the foreign defense contractor at the center of a massive bribery and fraud scandal.

 Greedy U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday for lying about his 20-year relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis, the owner of the foreign defense contractor at the center of a massive bribery and fraud scandal.

Gilbeau, 56, is the highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer sentenced in the scandal so far.

He pleaded guilty last year to one count of making false statements.

He was sentenced in federal court in San Diego.

Twenty current and former Navy officials have been charged. Ten have pleaded guilty and 10 cases are pending.

Five executives from Francis' Singapore-based company -- Glenn Defense Marine Asia -- have also pleaded guilty.

Gilbeau admitted that he destroyed documents and deleted computer files when he learned that Francis and others had been arrested in September 2013.

He also lied to federal agents when he said he never received any gifts from Francis.

Francis, 51, a Malaysian national also known as Fat Leonard, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to bribing dozens of Navy officials. He's waiting to be sentenced.

Francis' company provided Navy ships at ports across Asia with trash and sewage removal, food, water, security, and fuel.

In 2003 and 2004, Gilbeau was the supply officer on the USS Nimitz. He also served as head of the Tsunami Relief Crisis Action Team in Singapore in December 2004.

In June 2005, Gilbeau was assigned to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations as the head of aviation material support.

He was promoted to admiral in August 2010 and assumed command of the Defense Contract Management Agency International. In that role he was responsible for running the Defense Department's "most critical contracts performed outside the United States," according to his plea.

The Navy allowed Gilbeau to retire in October at the reduced rank of captain. During his career he won a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

His lawyers said Gilbeau suffered from PTSD and traumatic brain injury from a blast in Iraq, according to the Navy Times.

Francis and other executives from his company submitted low-ball bids to the Navy to win work. Then they created phony invoices for services they didn't provide, or they overcharged with inflated invoices.

Most of the Navy defendants allegedly accepted luxury travel and hotel stays, elaborate dinners, electronics, cash, and the services of prostitutes. In exchange they allegedly gave Francis and his company classified and internal U.S. Navy information that helped him block competitors and cheat the Navy. 


US Navy admiral sentenced to 18 months in 'Fat Leonard' bribery scandal

May 17, 2017 (Photo Credit: Lenny Ignelzi/AP)
SAN DIEGO — Over two decades, Robert Gilbeau rose through the ranks to Navy admiral and earned a chest-full of honors for his service, including a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. During that period he also partied across Southeast Asia with a gregarious Malaysian businessman who paid for lavish dinners, drinks at karaoke bars and prostitutes.
That businessman, known as "Fat Leonard," is the centerpiece of a massive bribery scandal involving Navy officers, and Gilbeau last year pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about their relationship. He was the first active-duty admiral convicted of a federal crime and on Wednesday he learned his penalty: 18 months in jail.
Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson called it a "somber day."
"When tempted by parties and prostitutes, one of our most respected leaders chose karaoke over character, and cover-up over confession," she said. "In doing so he forever tarnished the reputation of a revered institution."
Gilbeau acknowledged his wrongdoing in federal court in San Diego.

Navy admiral to plead guilty to lying in 'Fat Leonard' bribery probe

He told the judge he is "deeply sorry" and cannot explain his actions. He stood in court with his fluffy white dog, which accompanies him as part of his treatment for post-traumatic stress. Gilbeau's defense had argued that his PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from a blast in Iraq should be taken into account, though prosecutors said he was exaggerating his condition because he knew he was going to get caught.
"I never wanted to end my career this way," said the 56-year-old Navy veteran, who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in Iraq in 2007. "I'm still proud of my career and to be an American."
Gilbeau wrote in a letter to the judge that "I have no one to blame but myself."
He wrote that while his PTSD is not an excuse, it gave him a desire to "make self-destructive decisions."
Defense News
Retired admiral, 8 others charged in latest 'Fat Leonard' indictments

Gilbeau was convicted in June after admitting that he lied when he told federal agents that he had never received any gifts from Leonard Glenn Francis. The Navy allowed him to retire in October but reduced his rank from rear admiral to captain.
Nicknamed "Fat Leonard" because of his wide girth, Francis has admitted to bribing Navy officials with more than $500,000 in cash, prostitutes, and other gifts in exchange for classified information to help his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia. He is awaiting sentencing.
Francis and his company that supplies food and fuel to ships overbilled the Navy by more than $34 million, prosecutors said.
Gilbeau first met Francis in 1997 during a port visit to Bali, Indonesia, where Francis wooed Gilbeau and another U.S. Navy officer with hotel rooms, dinners and the services of prostitutes, according to investigators.
For years, Francis footed the bill for Gilbeau's late-night partying at nightclubs and karaoke bars, fine dining, luxury hotels and paid sex in Asian countries.
In exchange, Gilbeau signed off on Francis' company invoices that grossly overbilled the Navy, prosecutors said.
In one instance, Gilbeau signed an invoice for the USS Nimitz that was the highest amount the Navy ever paid in the ship's history for wastewater removal. Prosecutors said evidence suggests the company kicked back $40,000 in cash to Gilbeau.
Gilbeau has denied taking cash.
U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino said Gilbeau carried out "a systematic destruction of records," after Francis was arrested in 2013 to conceal his involvement.
"You violated the law," she said. "You dishonored your shipmates, the Navy and the United States of America."
Twenty current and former Navy officials have been charged so far. Ten have pleaded guilty.
Five Glenn Defense Marine Asia executives and the corporation have also pleaded guilty.