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Retired Navy captain pleads guilty in 'Fat Leonard' corruption scandal

By Clyde Hughes
Retired Navy captain pleads guilty in 'Fat Leonard' corruption scandal
Navy sailors stand on an F/A-18F Super Hornet aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea. File Photo by James Mullen/U.S. Navy/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A retired Navy captain has pleaded guilty to charges in the U.S. Navy's "Fat Leonard" corruption case.

Former Capt. Jeffrey Breslau entered the plea Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino in San Diego -- the latest development in the wide-ranging scandal prosecutors say included bribes, lavish gifts and prostitutes.

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Federal prosecutors said while still active in the U.S. Navy, Breslau was paid more than $60,000 for providing consultant and supplier Leonard Glenn Francis with public relations consulting services.

Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges, admitting he led a massive, decade-long conspiracy that involved numerous Navy officials and millions in the form of fraud, paid for with luxury travel, airline upgrades, five-star hotel accommodations, prostitutes, top-shelf alcohol, Cuban cigars, Kobe beef and Spanish suckling pigs.

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Former Navy Master Chief Ricarte Icmat David was sentenced in the case to 17 months in prison, followed by a year of supervised release and $30,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors said David, who was assigned various duties with the Navy's Seventh Fleet, allowed Francis and his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, to inflate invoices to bill the Navy for services never rendered.

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Francis admitted to overcharging the Navy some $35 million for services that his company provided military ships, like trash removal, water and security, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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Dermot F. O'Reilly, director of Defense Criminal Investigative Service, called Breslau's plea "yet another sad chapter in what is the largest fraud and corruption scandal in the history of the U.S. Navy."

Prosecutors said 33 defendants have been charged and 22 have pleaded guilty so far.

In June, the Navy formally censured Rear Adm. Richard Wren, Navy Capt. Timothy Conroy and retired Capt. Charles Johnson as part of the scandal. A censure is a formal acknowledgement of wrongdoing, but does not impact the officers' retirement benefits or pay.

Breslau will be sentenced Feb. 9.

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