US Navy officer jailed in bribery case

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A U.S. federal court has sentenced former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Gentry Debord to more than two years in prison for his involvement in one of the biggest U.S. Navy bribery cases.

Debord earlier admitted to accepting bribes from a Malaysian subcontractor in exchange for sensitive information about U.S. Navy operations.

An expanding investigation into a bribery scheme orchestrated by a businessman nicknamed “Fat Leonard” has so far resulted in 11 Navy officials getting charged for accepting cash, prostitutes and even Lady Gaga concert tickets as bribe.

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Gentry Debord, who was named U.S. Navy Supply Officer of the Year while he was secretly accepting bribes and prostitutes from a foreign defense contractor, was also ordered to pay a $15,000 fine and $37,000 in restitution to the Navy.

During today’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino told the defendant that he picked the wrong side. “You were clearly on their team and not the Navy’s team.”

Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson said: “This is a fitting sentence for a man who sullied his stripes with such despicable behavior. We will continue to move forward in this investigation until all involved are held accountable.”

According to his plea agreement, from November 2007 to January 2013, Debord provided Francis and others with internal, proprietary U.S. Navy information; directed Francis and GDMA to inflate invoices to reflect services not rendered; advocated for the U.S. Navy to procure items from GDMA under its husbanding contracts; and otherwise used his position and influence in the U.S. Navy to advocate for and advance GDMA’s interests, as opportunities arose.

During the conspiracy, Debord was a supply officer aboard the U.S.S. Essex and later became a logistics officer for the Pacific Fleet. As a supply officer, Debord was responsible for procuring goods and services to meet the ship’s logistical and supply needs and for confirming that the U.S. Navy’s contractors provided these services. As logistics officer, he helped direct ship movements and port visits in the Western Pacific region.

So far, a total of 16 named individual defendants have been charged in connection with the GDMA corruption and fraud investigation.

Of those, 11 are current or former U.S. Navy officials, including Debord, Admiral Robert Gilbeau, believed to be the first active-duty U.S. Navy flag officer charged in a federal criminal case.

 

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