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US Navy Commander Sentenced in Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Case

A total of 28 defendants have been charged in connection to the investigation

An Active-Duty U.S. Navy commander was sentenced to more than a year in prison for his involvement in the investigation of Singapore-based defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, also known as "Fat Leonard."

NBC 7 has been following this investigation since September 2013.

Bobby Pitts, 48, had pleaded guilty in August 2017 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by attempting to protect Francis, who owns Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Pitts admitted that he had learned the U.S. Navy was investigating whether Francis was over-billing the government on ship husbanding contracts in 2009 and 2010. At the time, he was the Officer in Charge of the U.S. Navy's Fleet Industrial Supply Command (FISC) in Singapore.

He shared internal U.S. Navy documents relating to the case with Francis with the intent to obstruct the investigation.

"Pitts deliberately and methodically undermined government operations and in doing so, diverted his allegiance from his country and colleagues to a foreign defense contractor, and for that, he is paying a high price," said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman.

Pitts was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine and $7,500 in restitution.

In 2015, Francis pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges in a decade-long conspiracy involving a number of U.S. Navy officials.

A total of 28 defendants have been charged in connection with the investigation so far—19 of whom have pleaded guilty, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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 with 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.

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