Three more charged in Fat Leonard case

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Leonard Glenn Francis

MAY 28, 2016 —Three more individuals have been charged in the bribery and fraud scandal known in the Navy as the “Fat Leonard affair.”

Retired Navy Captain Michael Brooks, 57, of Fairfax Station, VA, Commander Bobby Pitts, 47, of Chesapeake, VA; and Lieutenant Commander Gentry Debord, 47, who is based in Singapore, were charged May 25, 2016, in the Southern District of California.  

Brooks and Debord were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and Pitts was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of obstruction of justice. 

All of the charges relate to the defendants’ interactions with Leonard Glenn Francis, the former CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contracting firm based in Singapore.  

Brooks and Pitts made their initial appearances yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; Debord appeared in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.  

Brooks was allowed to post a $50,000 bond; Pitts was granted a $5,000 bond, ordered to be subject to electronic monitoring and to appear in the Southern District of California on June 10; and Debord was granted a $40,000 bond secured by real property.  

Debord is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick of the Southern District of California on June 9, 2016.

According to the indictment against him, from June 2006 to July 2008, Brooks served as the U.S. Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines. 

The indictment alleges that in exchange for travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes, Brooks used his office to benefit GDMA and Francis, including securing the quarterly diplomatic clearances for GDMA vessels, which allowed GDMA vessels to transit into and out of the Philippines under the diplomatic clearance of the U.S. Embassy; limited the amount of custom fees and taxes that GDMA was required to pay in the Philippines; and enabled GDMA to avoid inspection of any quantity or type of cargo that it transported.  

The indictment also alleges that Brooks provided Francis with sensitive Navy information, including billing information belonging to a GDMA competitor and Navy ship schedules. 

According to the indictment against Pitts, he was from August 2009 to May 2011, the Officer in Charge of the Navy’s Fleet Industrial Supply Command (FISC), which was charged with meeting the logistical needs of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet.  The indictment alleges that in exchange for entertainment, meals and the services of a prostitute, Pitts used his position with FISC to interfere with NCIS investigations into GDMA.  

Pitts allegedly provided Francis with a  hard copy of an NCIS report detailing an investigation into GDMA for contract fraud marked “for official use only.” 

According to the indictment, the report detailed NCIS’ investigative steps and witnesses that NCIS had interviewed. The indictment further alleges that in November 2010, Pitts forwarded to a GDMA employee an internal Navy email discussing details of FISC’s efforts to oversee GDMA’s contracts with the U.S. Navy.

According to the criminal complaint brought against him, Debord served in several logistical and supply positions in the Western Pacific.from November 2007 to August 2013. In exchange for cash, hotel stays and the services of prostitutes,

Debord allegedly provided Francis with inside Navy information and documents, including information about competitors’ bids and information about an investigation into GDMA billing practices.  In an attempt to conceal the true nature of his relationship with Francis, Debord allegedly referred to prostitutes as “cheesecake” or “bodyguards.” 

The complaint also alleges that Debord schemed with Francis to defraud the Navy through the submission and approval of inflated invoices.

Including those charged yesterday, 13 individuals have now been charged in connection with this scheme; of those, nine have pleaded guilty.

The NCIS, DCIS and DCAA are conducting the ongoing investigation.  Assistant Chief Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Pletcher of the Southern District of California are prosecuting the case.

Download Pitts Indictment

Download Brooks Indictment

Download Debord Complaint – Unsealed

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