By Debbie Gregory.
Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau was convicted of lying to federal agents about receiving bribes in the “Fat Leonard” scandal.
Gilbeau, who acknowledged his wrongdoing in federal court in San Diego, told the judge he is “deeply sorry” and cannot explain his actions. He stood in court accompanied by his dog, his aid for coping with PTSD.
Gilbeau’s defense argued that his PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from a blast in Iraq should be taken into account, though prosecutors said he was exaggerating his condition because he knew he was going to get caught. The Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
“When tempted by parties and prostitutes, one of our most respected leaders chose karaoke over character, and cover-up over confession,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson. “In doing so, he forever tarnished the reputation of a revered institution.”
Gilbeau wrote in a letter to the judge that “I have no one to blame but myself.” He was allowed to retire in October but his rank was reduced from rear admiral to captain.
Leonard Glenn Francis, known as “Fat Leonard” because of his size, has admitted to bribing Navy officials with more than $500,000 in cash, prostitutes and more. He wanted classified information to help his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia that supplied food and fuel to ships.
Prosecutors allege that he overbilled the Navy by more than $34 million.
Gilbeau signed an invoice for the USS Nimitz that was the highest amount the Navy ever paid in the ship’s history for wastewater removal.
To date, there have been twenty current and former Navy officials who have been charged. Ten of those have pleaded guilty.
What you think? Should Gilbeau have received a lesser or more severe sentence?