U.S. Navy Ad­mi­ral Gets 18 months in Mas­sive Navy Bribery and Fraud Case

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U.S. Navy Rear Ad­mi­ral Robert Gil­beau was sen­tenced re­cently to only 18 months in prison for ly­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors to con­ceal his 20-year part­ner­ship with Leonard Glenn Fran­cis (Fat Leonard), the owner of Sin­ga­pore-based Glenn De­fense Marine Asia (GDMA), a for­eign de­fense con­trac­tor at the cen­ter of a ma­jor bribery and fraud scan­dal.

Gil­beau is the first ad­mi­ral to be sen­tenced for crimes com­mited while in service.

GDMA pro­vided the Navy with var­i­ous ship hus­band­ing ser­vices such as trash and sewage re­moval, food, wa­ter, se­cu­rity and fuel at in­flated prices that cost Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers at least an ex­tra $35 mil­lion more than the ser­vices should have cost.

Prose­cu­tors claim the cor­rup­tion started in 1997 when Gil­beau served aboard the Boxer am­phibi­ous as­sault ship when Fat Leonard gave Gil­beau and an­other of­fi­cer gifts of ho­tel rooms, din­ners and pros­ti­tutes dur­ing a port visit to Bali.

The bribery started to be paid back when 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. The cor­rup­tion con­tin­ued when he served as head of the Tsunami Re­lief Cri­sis Ac­tion Team in Sin­ga­pore and was in charge of the Navy’s lo­gis­tics re­sponse to the South­east Asia tsunami in De­cem­ber 2004. In 2005, Gil­beau con­tin­ued to ripoff tax­pay­ers af­ter he 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. De­spite his cor­rup­tion, Gil­beau was pro­moted to ad­mi­ral in 2010 and 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.

Twenty cur­rent and for­mer Navy of­fi­cials have been charged so far in the fraud and bribery in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Of the 20 Navy of­fi­cials, 10 have pleaded guilty, and 10 cases are pend­ing. Five GDMA ex­ec­u­tives and the GDMA cor­po­ra­tion it­self have pleaded guilty.

U.S. District Judge Ja­nis Sam­martino told Gil­beau, “You vi­o­lated the law and dis­hon­ored your ship­mates, the Navy and the United States of Amer­ica.” Yet, she only gave him a slap on the wrist.

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