JUNE 10, 2015 — U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau yesterday pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court to felony charges that he lied to federal investigators to conceal his illicit years-long relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis, the foreign defense contractor at the center of the massive bribery and fraud scandal known in Navy circles as the "Fat Leonard affair."
Admiral Gilbeau is the highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer charged in the investigation so far, He is believed to be the first active-duty Naval flag officer ever charged in federal criminal court.
Admiral Gilbeau pleaded guilty to making false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
In his plea agreement, Admiral Gilbeau admitted that he lied when he told agents from Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) that he had never received any gifts from Leonard Glenn Francis, owner of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
Francis has pleaded guilty to plying scores of other U.S. Navy officials with gifts such as luxury travel and meals, cash and electronics and and parties and prostitutes.
According to his plea agreement, Admiral Gilbeau lied when he told investigators that he "always paid for half of the dinner" when he and Francis met about three times a year. When Gilbeau became aware that Francis and others had been arrested in connection with the fraud and bribery offenses in September 2013, he destroyed documents and deleted computer files.
Admiral Gilbeau is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino.
At today's hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo set bond at $75,000 secured by real property.
Most of the other Navy officials charged in this case so far have faced allegations that in return for cash, lavish entertainment and travel expenses, the services of prostitutes and other illicit gifts, they brazenly used their public offices to heap benefit after benefit upon Francis and GDMA, including passing on classified U.S. Navy information to advance GDMA's business interests and advocating for GDMA at every turn.
Gilbeau was charged via information with deliberately and knowingly making false statements, from November 2012 to October 2013, about the nature of his relationship with Francis and his receipt of things of value over the course of years from Francis.
According to charging documents, in 2003 and 2004, 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. He later served as head of the Tsunami Relief Crisis Action Team in Singapore, heading the Navy's logistics response to the Southeast Asia tsunami in December 2004. In June 2005, Gilbeau 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.
After he was promoted to admiral, Gilbeau assumed command in August 2010 of the Defense Contract Management Agency International, where he was responsible for the global administration of the Defense Department's most critical contracts performed outside the United States.
"Of those who wear our nation's uniform in the service of our country, only a select few have been honored to hold the rank of Admiral – and not a single one is above the law," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "Admiral Gilbeau lied to federal agents investigating corruption and fraud, and then tried to cover up his deception by destroying documents and files. Whether the evidence leads us to a civilian, to an enlisted service member or to an admiral, as this investigation expands we will continue to hold responsible all those who lied or who corruptly betrayed their public duties for personal gain."
So far, a total of 14 people have been charged in connection with the case.Of those, 11 are current or former U.S. Navy officials, including Admiral Gilbeau; Captain (ret) Michael Brooks; Commander Bobby Pitts; Lt. Commander Gentry Debord; Captain Daniel Dusek; Captain (select) Michael Misiewicz; Lt. Commander Todd Malaki; NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau; Commander Jose Luis Sanchez; Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug; and Paul Simpkins, a former DoD civilian employee.
Gilbeau, Dusek, Misiewicz, Malaki, Beliveau, Sanchez and Layug have pleaded guilty. On January 21, 2016, Layug was sentenced to 27 months in prison and a $15,000 fine; on January 29, 2016, Malaki was sentenced to 40 months in prison and to pay $15,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $15,000 fine. On March 25, 2016, Dusek was sentenced to 46 months in prison and to pay $30,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $70,000 fine; and on April 29, 2016, Misiewicz was sentenced to 78 months in prison and to pay a fine of $100,000 and to pay $95,000 in restitution to the Navy.
Brooks, Pitts and Debord were charged last week and their cases are pending; Simpkins awaits trial.
Also charged are three GDMA executives – Francis, Alex Wisidagama and Ed Aruffo. All three have pleaded guilty; Wisidagama was sentenced on March 18, 2016 to 63 months and $34.8 million in restitution to the Navy.
Francis and Aruffo await sentencing.
GDMA, the corporate entity, was also charged and has pleaded guilty.