Another guilty plea in “Fat Leonard” case

Written by Marine Log Staff
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U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Enrico DeGuzman has become the second of the “Seventh Fleet Nine” to enter a guilty plea in the ongoing “Fat Leonard” case.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, DeGuzman pleaded guilty to a bribery charge September 3, admitting that he accepted more than $67,000 in meals, drinks, entertainment and hotel stays in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo from foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis.

DeGuzman was one of nine members of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2017 for conspiring with Francis and for receiving bribes. DeGuzman is the second of the Seventh Fleet defendants to plead guilty, the first being retired Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Robert Gorsuch.

The trial of the remaining defendants was scheduled to begin November 1, 2021, but last week it was postponed until February 7, 2022. The remaining defendants — who are accused of trading military secrets and substantial influence for sex parties with prostitutes and luxurious dinners and travel — include U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless; Captains David Newland, James Dolan, Donald Hornbeck and David Lausman; Commander Stephen Shedd; and Commander Mario Herrera.

The overarching fraud and bribery case has resulted in federal criminal charges against 34 U.S. Navy officials, defense contractors and the GDMA corporation. So far, 27 of those have pleaded guilty, admitting collectively that they accepted millions of dollars in luxury travel and accommodations, meals, or services of prostitutes, among many other things of value, from Francis in exchange for helping GDMA win and maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by over $35 million.

DeGuzman served on the Seventh Fleet Staff as the Fleet Marine Officer from July 2004 to July 2007. In this role, DeGuzman was responsible for coordinating the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps within the Seventh Fleet area of responsibility. From July 2007 to January 1, 2011, DeGuzman served as the Assistant Chief of Staff of Operations for U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and thereafter, DeGuzman served in a civilian capacity as the Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations for U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.

According to his plea agreement, DeGuzman admitted to receiving the following bribes from Francis:

On February 17, 2006, during the U.S.S. Blue Ridge’s port visit to Hong Kong, DeGuzman and others dined and drank at Francis’s expense at the Petrus Restaurant at a cost of more than $20,000. To conceal and cover up their corrupt relationship, Francis created fraudulent receipts for the Petrus dinner that DeGuzman knew represented a small fraction of the actual cost of the dinner. While in Hong Kong, DeGuzman and others also stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel paid for, in part, by Francis.

On March 9, 2006, during the U.S.S. Blue Ridge’s port visit to Singapore, DeGuzman and others dined with Francis at the Jaan Restaurant in Singapore. Prior to dinner, DeGuzman and others enjoyed entertainment and cocktails on the rooftop helipad. At dinner, says the U.S. Attorney’s office, they enjoyed foie gras terrine, duck leg confit, ox-tail soup, and roasted Chilean sea bass, paired with expensive wine and champagne, followed by digestifs and cigars. The estimated cost to Francis was $40,000.

On September 9, 2006, DeGuzman and others dined at Francis’s expense at the New York Grill in Tokyo, Japan, and stayed at Francis’s expense at the Park Hyatt Hotel, all at a total cost to Francis of approximately $30,000.

During the U.S.S. Blue Ridge’s port visit to Singapore from about February 22-27, 2007, Francis paid for the hotel expenses for DeGuzman and others at the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore at a total cost to Francis of approximately $50,000. As part of this port visit, DeGuzman and others dined with Francis at Francis’s expense on multiple occasions,

On March 24, 2007, DeGuzman and others attended a multi-course dinner hosted by Francis at the Oak Door in Tokyo, Japan, during which was served, at Francis’s expense, foie gras, Lobster Thermidor, and Sendai Tenderloin, and for dessert, “Liberté Sauvage,” the winning cake of the 10th Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie 2007, followed by cognac and cigars. During the event, the attendees posed for a photograph wearing custom-made GDMA neckties.

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