US Navy ex-admiral among 9 charged for taking bribes

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2017

-A retired US Navy admiral is one of six former officers arrested and charged with bribery in a recently-unsealed indictment, part of an ongoing investigation into the "Fat Leonard" scandal.

He is being investigated for selling classified shipping schedules and other information to help a Singapore-based contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, in exchange for prostitutes, stays at luxury hotel and other favors.

The indictment claims that the defendants helped former Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) chief executive Leonard Glenn Francis, also nicknamed as "Fat Leonard", in pulling off a colossal fraud that cost USA government tens of millions of dollars by overcharging food, water, fuel and other supplies.

Of those previously charged, 20 are current or former US Navy officials and five are GDMA executives, according to the DOJ. Some cases are still pending, but most of the defendants have pleaded guilty and sentenced to prison terms and fines ranging up to $100,000, and ordered to pay restitution to the Navy.

Authorities arrested the nine defendants Tuesday morning across the country in Virginia, California, Texas and other states. He must appear in a San Diego federal court next Tuesday.

Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin entered not-guilty pleas on behalf of Loveless and another defendant, former Marine Col. Enrico DeGuzman, who was also allowed to remain free without bond. Mario Herrera, Lt. Cmdr.

Navy officers provided classified information to Francis that helped him beat competitors and, in some instances, commanders steered ships to ports in the Pacific where his company could charge fake tariffs and fees, prosecutors said.

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In one incident, Francis hosted a dinner in Hong Kong at which Loveless and others allegedly gorged on an eight-course meal featuring black truffle soup, rock lobster salad, caviar, pan-seared duck liver and other fancy foods. During the party, "historical memorabilia related to General Douglas MacArthur were used by the participants in sexual acts", according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say Francis, whose nickname comes from his wide girth, cheated the navy out of almost $35m - largely by overcharging for his company's services stocking navy ships in the Pacific with food, water, fuel and other supplies.

"This is a fleecing and betrayal of the United States Navy in epic proportions, and it was allegedly carried out by the Navy's highest-ranking officers", said acting U.S. Attorney Robinson in a statement.

Loveless becomes the second flag officer charged in the GDMA scandal. Glenn Francis was lured to San Diego from Singapore in a sting operation four years ago and is apparently working with prosecutors while he awaits sentencing for bribery and conspiracy.

"GDMA's main business involved "husbanding" 14 vessels, a service it had provided across the Seventh Fleet's AOR (Area of Responsibility) under various contracts with the U.S. Navy for over 25 years". Before that, starting in 2005 he served as an intelligence officer aboard the Japan-based carrier Kitty Hawk.

The indictment alleges the naval officers would then overlook inflated invoices or quashed bids from competitors. He is charged with making false statements to investigators and obstructing justice in November 2013.

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