According to the Department of Justice press release, nine Naval officers, including Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless and Captain David Newland, chief of staff to the Commander of the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, were indicted on charges of conspiracy, bribery, and other charges in relation to an ongoing case against Leonard Glenn Francis. “Fat Leonard” or Leonard Glenn Francis owned Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) and allegedly stole tens of millions of dollars from the US government. The indictment stated that GDMA primarily operated in “Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Philippines, and the United States. GDMA’s main business involved “husbanding” 14 vessels, a service it had provided across the Seventh Fleet’s AOR (Area of Responsibility) under various contracts with the U.S. Navy for over 25 years.”
The nine officers indicted yesterday bring the count of people arrested in the case to 25 (20 Navy personnel and 5 GDMA executives). All those indicted allegedly took part in trading military secrets for sex with prostitutes, expensive dinners, money, expensive gifts such as cigars and cognac, and travel expenses. The indictment also stated that some of the Navy personnel arrested mishandled classified information but did not allude to the type of information compromised.
The Soviets couldn’t have penetrated us better than Leonard Francis,” said a retired Navy officer who worked closely with Francis and spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisal. “He’s got people skills that are off the scale. He can hook you so fast that you don’t see it coming. . . . At one time he had infiltrated the entire leadership line. The KGB could not have done what he did.”- Washington Post
Francis would throw huge parties on his boat, Glenn Braveheart when Seventh fleet vessels were in port.
The vessel became the flagship of his fleet, and it would often deploy alongside the USS Blue Ridge, the 7th Fleet’s flagship. When in port, Francis would sometimes turn the Braveheart into a giant party boat, with prostitutes in the wardroom to entertain U.S. officers, according to court records and interviews.- Washington Post
Those indicted are accused of using their positions within the Navy’s Seventh Fleet to influence operations to benefit Glenn Defense Marine Asia. The press release indicates Seventh Fleet is the Navy’s largest Fleet which includes 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft, and approximately 40,000 Sailors and Marines. They are also accused of purposely hiding their relationship with GMDA by using personal email accounts to maintain a relationship with Francis. Many even had code names for themselves. The DOJ press release stated that the Navy personnel involved treated their involvement like a secret club.
The group of officers referred to themselves using various terms, such as “the Cool Kids,” “the Band of Brothers,” “the Brotherhood,” “the Wolfpack,” “the familia,” and “the Lion King’s Harem.” The officers tried to conceal their corrupt relationships by using fictitious names to create email addresses using foreign-based email services.
The Seventh Fleet will likely never be the same and this stain will likely be carried with them for decades to come. GDMA has had contracts with the Navy for over 25 years, this corruption could go back to the very beginning.
Featured image courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment