U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau was sentenced to 18 months in prison Wednesday for lying about his 20-year relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis, the owner of the foreign defense contractor at the center of a massive bribery and fraud scandal.
Gilbeau, 56, is the highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer sentenced in the scandal so far.
He pleaded guilty last year to one count of making false statements.
He was sentenced in federal court in San Diego.
Twenty current and former Navy officials have been charged. Ten have pleaded guilty and 10 cases are pending.
Five executives from Francis’ Singapore-based company — Glenn Defense Marine Asia — have also pleaded guilty.
Gilbeau admitted that he destroyed documents and deleted computer files when he learned that Francis and others had been arrested in September 2013.
He also lied to federal agents when he said he never received any gifts from Francis.
Francis, 51, a Malaysian national also known as Fat Leonard, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to bribing dozens of Navy officials. He’s waiting to be sentenced.
Francis’ company provided Navy ships at ports across Asia with trash and sewage removal, food, water, security, and fuel.
In 2003 and 2004, Gilbeau was the supply officer on the USS Nimitz. He also served as head of the Tsunami Relief Crisis Action Team in Singapore in December 2004.
In June 2005, Gilbeau was assigned to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations as the head of aviation material support.
He was promoted to admiral in August 2010 and assumed command of the Defense Contract Management Agency International. In that role he was responsible for running the Defense Department’s “most critical contracts performed outside the United States,” according to his plea.
The Navy allowed Gilbeau to retire in October at the reduced rank of captain. During his career he won a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
His lawyers said Gilbeau suffered from PTSD and traumatic brain injury from a blast in Iraq, according to the Navy Times.
Francis and other executives from his company submitted low-ball bids to the Navy to win work. Then they created phony invoices for services they didn’t provide, or they overcharged with inflated invoices.
Most of the Navy defendants allegedly accepted luxury travel and hotel stays, elaborate dinners, electronics, cash, and the services of prostitutes. In exchange they allegedly gave Francis and his company classified and internal U.S. Navy information that helped him block competitors and cheat the Navy.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.