San Diego

2 Navy Officers Plead Guilty in ‘Fat Leonard' Bribery Scandal

Two U.S. Navy officers have admitted they accepted the services of prostitutes and gifts as part of a corruption scandal that spanned a decade and involved dozens of Navy officials.

The Virginian-Pilot reports Cmdr. Jason Starmer pleaded guilty to willful dereliction of duty, patronizing a prostitute and adultery and Capt. John Steinberger pleaded guilty to willful dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman in separate military courtrooms at Naval Station Norfolk on Tuesday. Both will be administratively separated from the service as part of pre-trial agreements.

Steinberger of Mountainview, California has served sea tours with USS Bunker Hill and USS Decatur as well as Cruiser Destroyer Group with USS Carl Vinson and USS Constellation.

More than 20 people have pleaded guilty so far in connection with the conspiracy in which authorities say a Malaysian businessman nicknamed “Fat Leonard” Francis bribed officials to help him overbill the Navy for services his company provided to ships docked in Asian ports.

NBC 7 has been following this investigation since the first arrests were made public in September 2013.

"Fat Leonard" pleaded guilty in January 2015 to bribing senior Navy officials in exchange for specific U.S. Navy warship movements so his company could overbill the Pentagon.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us