Navy Commander Sentenced in "Fat Leonard" Scandal
U.S. Navy commander Bobby Pits has been sentenced to 18 months jail for his part in the “Fat Lenoard” Navy bribery scandal.
In handing down the sentence U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino said that Pitts, 48, of Chesapeake, Virginia, had betrayed the Navy, himself and his country. In addition to the prison time, Pitts received three years supervised release and has to pay $7,500 in restitution and a $15,000 fine for defrauding the United States.
Pitts was the officer in charge of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Industrial Supply Command in Singapore from August 2009 to May 2011. He oversaw contracts of husbanding services – such as water, food, trash and waste removal – for the Navy’s Seventh Fleet.
Pitts pleaded guilty in August to sharing information with defense contractor Leonard “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges for engaging in a decade-long conspiracy involving scores of U.S. Navy officials and tens of millions of dollars in bribes (including prostitutes, luxury travel and Cuban cigars) in exchange for port services contracts.
Pitts shared an internal Navy email with Francis from 2010 which indicated Francis was being investigated for over-billing the U.S. Navy on ship husbanding contracts.
Last month, the Navy confirmed that the scope of the “Fat Leonard” scandal is much larger than previously acknowledged. The sweeping fraud investigation has already led to criminal charges for 28 people, including two admirals and 19 other Navy officials, making it the largest fraud scandal in the service's history. The majority of these defendants have pled guilty.
The number of active cases has expanded as the Justice Department transfers responsibility for some of its targets to Navy prosecutors. The Navy is taking over cases that are not viable for civilian criminal trials and will pursue them under the uniform code of military justice instead.
The Justice Department contends that Fat Leonard overcharged the Navy by approximately $35 million.