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‘Sex addict’ Navy officer jailed in Fat Leonard scandal

Then Lt. Gentry Debord aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex in 2008 (Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David Didier)A U.S. Navy lieutenant commander was sentenced to 30 months in prison Thursday for taking cash, luxury hotel stays, and prostitutes from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for classified Navy information.

Gentry Debord, 41, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego in October 2016.

Debord was based in Singapore. He served as a supply officer aboard the USS Essex and later as a logistics officer for the Pacific Fleet.

Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia provided fuel and supplies for Navy ships at Pacific ports.

From 2007 to early 2013, Debord passed classified Navy information to Glenn Defense CEO Leonard Glenn Francis. The information included details about competitors’ bids and an investigation into Glenn Defense’s billing practices.

Francis, 51, is a Malaysian also known as “Fat Leonard.” He pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribing scores of U.S. Navy officials with travel, meals, cash, electronics, parties, and prostitutes.

Debord used code words with Francis, referring to prostitutes as “cheesecake” or “bodyguards.” 

One Glenn Defense employee called Debord “sex crazy” in an internal email.

Debord’s attorney said his client had an addiction to sex.

The lawyer, Robert Schlein of San Diego, told the Washington Post that Debord “was a young guy and he had this addiction, this sex addiction, that made him vulnerable.”

Debord, who was married, asked a Glenn Defense executive to provide him with three hotel rooms, two cell phones, a van, and Singapore currency equivalent to about $1,500. He also asked for an apartment to use during a port visit.

Debord told Glenn Defense executives to inflate their invoices to the Navy to cover the cost of the bribes. He also approved invoices for services never rendered.

In addition to his 30-month prison sentence, Debord was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine and $37,000 in restitution to the Navy. 

So far, sixteen defendants have been charged in the Fat Leonard case. Of those, 11 are current or former U.S. Navy officials.

Ten defendants have pleaded guilty. Seven have been sentenced to prison.

The longest prison sentence was given to former NCIS special agent John Beliveau. He was jailed 12 years for giving Francis confidential NCIS reports about investigations into him and his company.

The highest-ranking officer charged in the case is Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau. He pleaded guilty in June to lying to investigators and destroying evidence about his relationship with Francis.

Three other Rear Admirals including the commander of naval forces in Japan retired last year after the Secretary of the Navy censured them for the Fat Leonard scandal.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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