US Navy Rear Admiral pleads guilty in Fat Leonard bribery case

A U.S. Navy Rear Admiral became the highest ranking navy official so far and the 14th individual overall to be charged in the massive “Fat Leonard” bribery case.

The bribery case involved high-ranking U.S. Navy officials giving away classified information and steering U.S. Navy ships to ports where Fat Leonard’s company operated.

Officials were given cash, gifts, travel expenses, Lady Gaga concert tickets and the services of prostitutes in exchange.

Leonard Glenn Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard” because of his physical appearance was the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a company that provided port services to U.S. Navy vessels in Asia.

Francis has pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court on several counts, while his company is believed to have taken $20 million out of the Navy’s pocket.

The information high-ranking Navy officials were giving included ship schedules that contained information related to the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile defense operations in the Pacific.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to charges that he lied to federal investigators to conceal his illicit years-long relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).

Gilbeau, 55, of Burke, Virginia, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement. He was charged by information yesterday and is the highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer to be charged in the investigation so far. Gilbeau is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the Southern District of California.

In his plea agreement, Gilbeau admitted that he lied when he told agents from DCIS and NCIS that he had never received any gifts from Francis, the owner of Singapore-based GDMA.

Gilbeau also admitted that he lied when he told investigators that he “always paid for half of the dinner” when he and Francis met about three times a year. Gilbeau further admitted that when he became aware that Francis and others had been arrested in connection with the fraud and bribery offenses in September 2013, he destroyed documents and deleted computer files.

Francis previously pleaded guilty to plying scores of other U.S. Navy officials with gifts such as luxury travel, meals, cash, electronics, parties and prostitutes.

According to his plea, in 2003 and 2004, Gilbeau was the supply officer on the USS Nimitz, where he was responsible for procuring all goods and services necessary for operation of the ship.

He later served as head of the Tsunami Relief Crisis Action Team in Singapore, heading the Navy’s logistics response to the Southeast Asia tsunami in December 2004, and in June 2005, Gilbeau was assigned to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations as the head of aviation material support, establishing policies and requirements for budgeting and acquisitions for the Navy’s air forces, according to the plea agreement.

In August 2010, after he was promoted to admiral, Gilbeau assumed command of the Defense Contract Management Agency International, where he was responsible for the global administration of DOD’s most critical contracts performed outside the United States, according to admissions made in connection with his plea.