Retired Navy Captain Michael Brooks was sentenced to more than three years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery for accepting cash and prostitutes.
U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino sentenced Brooks to 41 months in prison and mandated that he pay $31,000 to the Navy and a general $41,000 fine for accepting bribes, in order to give special benefits to defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, who ran the firm Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
The firm’s principal business with the Navy was resupplying and refueling ships to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to the Department of Justice, Brooks, who served from 2006 to 2008 as the U.S. Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, accepted payments for travel, entertainment and hotel rooms, in addition to prostitutes.
Brooks then used his influence to secure benefits for Francis’ company GDMA, which is based out of Singapore. Those benefits included quarterly clearances for ships owned by GDMA. This allowed GDMA ships to travel under U.S. backing, marking the first time that a defense contractor has even been given such a benefit. The significance of this protection is that GDMA vessels were exempt from inspections, duties and taxes. Francis used this authority to transport Nepali soldiers into the Philippines to act as security guards, which he used to fight pirates.
Brooks also confessed that Francis ghostwrote Navy documents, particularly GDMA’s contractor performance evaluations. In one of the evaluations, GDMA was described as “phenomenal” and “unsurpassed.”
Francis himself was arrested in 2013 and subsequently plead guilty to defrauding the Navy of a minimum of $35 million.
This scandal, termed “Fat Leonard,” is one of the largest scandal to ever befall the Navy. So far, 21 current and former Navy officials have been charged. At this point, 10 have pleaded guilty. An additional 10 cases are pending.
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