Another guilty plea in Fat Leonard bribery case

FEBRUARY 1, 2018 — Former U.S. Navy Commander Troy Amundson pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal bribery conspiracy charges. He is the latest U.S. Navy official to plead guilty in the wide-ranging corruption and fraud investigation known as the "Fat Leonard" case, involving foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis and his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).

In a plea entered before U.S. Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo of the Southern District of California, Amundson, 50, of Ramsey, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, admitting that he conspired with Francis and others to receive things of value, including entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes, in exchange for taking official acts for the benefit of GDMA and violating his official duties to the United States Navy.

Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges, admitting that he presided over a massive, decade-long conspiracy involving "scores" of U.S. Navy officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud and millions of dollars in bribes and gifts – from cash, prostitutes and luxury travel to Cuban cigars, Kobe beef and Spanish suckling pigs.

According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, from May 2005 to May 2013, Amundson served as the officer responsible for coordinating the U.S. Navy's joint military exercises with its foreign navy counterparts. As part of his duties, Amundson was responsible for building and maintaining cooperative relationships with the U.S. Navy's foreign navy exercise partners.

Amundson admitted that from September 2012 through October 2013, Francis paid for dinner, drinks, transportation, other entertainment expenses, and the services of prostitutes for Amundson and other U.S. Navy officers.

In one instance, Amundson wrote to Francis from a private e-mail account, arranging to provide Francis with internal, proprietary U.S. Navy information: "Handoff?... [M]y [friend], your program is awesome. I [Amundson] am a small dog just trying to get a bone… however I am very happy with my small program. I still need five minutes to pass some data when we can meet up. Cannot print." That night, Francis arranged the services of several prostitutes from Mongolia for Amundson.

Having passed confidential, proprietary U.S. Navy information to Francis and having taken numerous other actions in favor of GDMA and in violation of his official duties, Amundson was interviewed by federal criminal investigators in October 2013. As part of his plea agreement, Amundson admitted that he deleted all of his private e-mail account correspondence with Francis following his interview with law enforcement agents earlier that same day.

"Amundson deliberately, methodically, and repeatedly traded his public office for entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes, and in so doing, aligned himself with a foreign defense contractor over his Navy, his colleagues and his country." said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. "We are pressing forward in this investigation until we are certain that all involved have been held accountable."

Sentencing is scheduled for April 27, 2018 at 9 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino.