Retired naval colonel pleads guilty to ‘Fat Leonard’ navy corruption scandal

This image from the Glenn Defense Marine Asia website shows workers tending to a Navy vessel. The Singapore-based defense contractor is implicated in the “Fat Leonard” fraud case.

A United States Marine Corps Colonel pleaded guilty to federal corruption on Friday for accepting more than $ 67,000 in gifts in exchange for assisting foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis and his ship maintenance company.

Enrico DeGuzman, 63, of Las Vegas, admitted in federal court in San Diego that in return for lavish meals and hotel stays in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, he used his position to help the company of Francis based in Singapore, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said DeGuzman sought to influence Navy ships in ports served by Francis’ company, shared confidential information with Francis and helped him “to assess and indoctrinate potential new members of the the Navy in Francis’ cabal ”.

Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges for providing a plethora of freebies to U.S. Navy officials, including travel accommodation, hotel stays, alcohol, prostitutes, Cuban cigars and more, in exchange for contracts directed to his company and providing him with confidential information. information on Navy operations and personnel. He was not convicted.

DeGuzman served as a naval officer for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet and was the second of nine indicted members of the Seventh Fleet to plead guilty this week, after retired naval officer Robert Gorsuch, who pleaded guilty Tuesday.

More than two dozen others have also pleaded guilty in the case, while the rest of the Seventh Fleet are expected to stand trial early next year.

Prosecutors say DeGuzman’s plea deal describes several expensive meals and hotel stays that he enjoyed at Francis’ expense.

On one occasion at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, Francis racked up around $ 50,000 in hotel expenses for DeGuzman and others.

Later that year in Tokyo, DeGuzman attended a multi-course dinner hosted by Francis at Oak Door Restaurant, in which attendees were pictured wearing bespoke ties bearing the GDMA, to denote Francis’ company.

After being assigned to another position, DeGuzman told Francis in an email that “[U]Unfortunately I don’t think I will be able to influence people [in my next assignment] like I did there in the 7th Fleet.

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