Admitting his guilt before a federal court on Wednesday, former US Navy 7th Fleet Operations Officer Capt. Donald Gayle “Bubbles” Hornbeck pleaded guilty to bribery. He was said to have taken $68,000 in bribes comprised of, including prostitution, luxury vacations with accommodations provided for, expensive meals, from Malaysian national and President of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) Leonard Glenn Francis, also known as “Fat Leonard.”
GMDA is a subsidiary of the Glenn Marine Group, a shipping support defense contractor. They provide supplies goods, naval logistics, and operation of shore-based support for ships coming in foreign ports. Fat Leonard, who was the CEO of the company, admittedly bribed numerous high-ranking uniformed officers of the United States Seventh Fleet with millions of dollars to gain confidential contracting information about the US ships and submarines. This would help him re-direct US Navy ships to ports he controlled in Southeast Asia so he could supply them overpriced food, water, barges, tugboats, and other services. This scam would cost the US Navy over $35 million, further enriching Fat Leonard.
Hornbeck agreed to a plea agreement with the US Federal Court in San Diego, California. In line with the plea agreement, he admitted to handing over classified documents containing the ship movements of US Navy aircraft carriers and submarines to Fat Leonard. He also admitted recruiting more US Navy officers to manage a network of corrupted officials that would send US Navy ships to Francis-controlled ports. Hornbeck wasn’t just helping Fat Leonard with the recruitment of other officers into the scam. He was the main man for almost all recruitments within the 7th Fleet. As a result of all the years of recruitment, he was known to be part of the “GDMA Nine.” This group was composed of US Navy officials, all of which at some point, worked for the 7th Fleet working as informants for a foreign defense contractor.
He and Fat Leonard allegedly started this corrupt relationship in August 2005, almost 17 years ago. The former officer was working as the assistant chief of staff aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) at that time. He would then be promoted to 7th Fleet’s Deputy Chief of Staff For Operations, a critical position for Fat Leonard’s maneuvering of US Navy ships to ports as this job oversaw and directed the operations of the US Navy’s vessels in the Southeast Asian region.