Assistant Chief of Staff of Seventh Fleet of US Navy Pleads Guilty in 'Fat Leonard' Bribery Case - NBC 7 San Diego

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Assistant Chief of Staff of Seventh Fleet of US Navy Pleads Guilty in 'Fat Leonard' Bribery Case

A total of 28 defendants have been charged in connection to the investigation—19 of whom have pleaded guilty and nine still await trial.

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    Assistant Chief of Staff of Seventh Fleet of US Navy Pleads Guilty in 'Fat Leonard' Bribery Case

    Another U.S. Navy official has pleaded guilty in a multi-million dollar Navy bribery scheme involved 28 defendants, including 21 current and former Navy officials.

    U.S. Navy Captain Jesus Vasquez Cantu, 59, admitted Friday in federal court that he accepted bribes from Leonard Glenn Francis, owner Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), also known as "Fat Leonard."

    He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

    According to his plea agreement, Cantu accepted bribes in the form of parties, hotel rooms, and the services of prostitutes on several occasions in 2012 and 2013. In return, he provided Francis with proprietary U.S. Navy information to Francis which was used to help his with his company's business.

    Cantu also admitted that he was involved in a bribery conspiracy with Francis during his time as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics for the Commander of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet aboard USS Blue Ridge in 2007.

    In March of this year, nine high-ranking Seventh Fleet U.S. Navy officers were also indicted for accepting bribes from Francis in exchange for military secrets, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, including retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless.

    The Seventh Fleet is the largest numbered fleet in the U.S. Navy, with 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and approximately 40,000 Sailors and Marines. It is responsible for Navy ships and subordinate commands that operate in the Western Pacific.

    A total of 28 defendants have been charged in connection to the investigation—19 of whom have pleaded guilty and nine still await trial.

    "The number of U.S. Navy officials who participated in this conspiracy is astounding," said Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson. "Like so many others, this defendant sold out the Navy and his country for cocktails and karaoke. We are pressing forward in this investigation until we are certain that all involved have been held accountable."

    In June 2016, Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau became the first highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer to be charged in the case. He pleaded guilty to one felony charge in connection to the years-long corruption and fraud scheme.

    He was sentenced in May of this year to three years of supervision after incarceration and was ordered to pay $150,000 in fines and restitution to the U.S. Navy.

    Francis has also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

    Cantu will be sentenced on Nov. 9.

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