A former U.S. Navy captain pleaded guilty to criminal conflict-of-interest charges and a former U.S. Navy master chief was sentenced Tuesday to 17 months in federal prison for their roles in an expansive corruption and fraud investigation involving foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis and his Singapore-based ship husbanding company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
Former U.S. Navy Capt. Jeffrey Breslau, 52, appeared in U.S. District Court in San Diego and admitted that while he was still employed by the U.S. Navy, he was paid more than $60,000 by Francis in return for providing him with public relations consulting services.
Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges, admitting 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 lavish gifts, including luxury travel, airline upgrades, five-star hotel accommodations, top-shelf alcohol, the services of prostitutes, Cuban cigars, Kobe beef and Spanish suckling pigs.
From October 2009 until July 2012, Breslau was a captain in the U.S. Navy, assigned as director of public affairs for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, headquartered in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As part of his duties, he was involved in devising the U.S. Navy’s public affairs communications strategy and provided public affairs guidance to Pacific Fleet components and other U.S. Navy commands.
Breslau admitted that in 2012 and 2013, he provided Francis with public relations consulting services, including providing advice on how to respond to issues and controversies related to Francis’s ship husbanding business with the U.S. Navy, including issues related to port visit costs, allegations of malfeasance such as the unauthorized dumping of waste, disputes with competitors, and issues with Pacific Fleet and contracting personnel.
During the course of his consulting agreement with Francis, Breslau authored, reviewed or edited at least 33 separate documents; crafted at least 135 emails providing advice to Francis; drew up at least 14 instances of “talking points” in advance of meetings between Francis and high-ranking U.S. Navy personnel; and “ghostwrote” numerous emails on Francis’s behalf to be transmitted to U.S. Navy personnel, court papers show. In return, Francis paid about $65,000 to Breslau, who did not disclose the agreement to the U.S. Navy.
Also appearing in court Tuesday was former Master Chief Ricarte David, 62, who was sentenced to 17 months in prison and ordered by U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino to pay $30,000 in restitution. David was charged in August and pleaded guilty a month later to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
David, assigned to various logistics positions with the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet and other assignments, was responsible for ordering and verifying goods and services for the ships on which he served, including from contractors during port calls. From 2001 until 2010, Francis showered him with various gifts and things of value, including five-star hotel rooms during every port visit, prosecutors said. In exchange, David repeatedly allowed Francis and GDMA to inflate the husbanding invoices to bill for services never rendered, prosecutors said.
“Breslau and David selfishly traded on their revered positions of trust in exchange for cash payments and entertainment expenses,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “We will vigorously prosecute any public official who puts his own selfish personal interests ahead of the interests of the Navy and our nation.”
So far, 33 defendants have been charged in the case and 22 have pleaded guilty.
— City News Service
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