Former 7th Fleet Officer Pleads Guilty to Taking Bribes From GDMA

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Published Jan 26, 2022 11:36 PM by The Maritime Executive

Cmdr. Stephen Shedd has become the latest in a string of U.S. Navy officials to plead guilty to federal bribery charges in connection with the Glenn Defense Marine Asia scandal, which has ensnared dozens of personnel over the past decade. 

Shedd has admitted that he and eight other leaders at Seventh Fleet received more than $250,000 in meals, entertainment, travel and hotel expenses, gifts, cash and "the services of prostitutes" from foreign defense contractor Leonard "Fat Leonard" Glenn Francis. Francis is a cooperating witness for the investigation.

Shedd and eight fellow officers from Seventh Fleet were indicted by a grand jury in March 2017 for allegedly receiving bribes from Francis, the owner and CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia. For years, GDMA provided husbandry services for U.S. Navy ships in port, including tugboats; fenders; security; food; fuel; water; sanitation; and transportation.

Shedd is the third of the Seventh Fleet defendants to plead guilty. The other six include U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless; Captains David Newland, James Dolan, David Lausman and Donald Hornbeck; and Commander Mario Herrera.

According to Shedd’s guilty plea, the defendants tipped off Francis to planned U.S. Navy ship movements by leaking the contents of classified ship schedules to him. They also allegedly used their positions to advocate for GDMA, suppressing competition from other vendors and helping GDMA get away with submitting inflated invoices. At the time, Shedd served as Seventh Fleet’s South Asia Policy and Planning Officer, where he was responsible (in part) for picking the ports that U.S. Navy ships would visit.

“Cmdr. Shedd abused his high-level position in the Navy by illegally accepting lavish gifts from Mr. Francis in exchange for providing Mr. Francis classified ship schedules listing numerous ships, specific ports, and dates for the visits far in advance,” said NCIS Director Omar Lopez. “NCIS and our law enforcement partners are committed to rooting out bribery and corruption that wastes valuable U.S. taxpayer money and damages the integrity of the Navy.”

To date, the GDMA investigation has led to criminal charges against nearly three dozen U.S. Navy officials and defense contractors. So far, 28 have pleaded guilty, admitting that they accepted bribes from Francis in exchange for helping GDMA win and keep Navy contracts. Over the span of the conspiracy, prosecutors say, GDMA succeeded in overbilling the Navy by more than $35 million for goods and services that were never provided.