(RightWing.org) – The latest aircraft carrier to join the United States Navy (USN) is the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77), which carries a crew of approximately 3,200 (roughly 2,500 of whom support the air wings on board). When a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is at sea, it has to maintain self-sufficiency, which takes a lot of supplies, including food, water, and other day-to-day needs. When ships finally make port, they spend a lot of money restocking everything, which led to the “Fat Leonard scandal” and the sentencing of a former American Navy Captain on bribery charges.
Retired Captain David Haas served aboard the USS Blue Ridge (the flagship of the USN 7th Fleet) as the Operations Officer between the dates of August 2011 and July 2013. He was one of many US naval officers and officials who helped steer contracts with nearly $35 million in overcharges to Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., which resupplied vessels throughout Southeast Asia.
“Fat Leonard” Francis was the owner of the supply company, and when Haas and other commanders ordered their ships into ports he controlled for resupply, he would reward them with expensive cigars, Kobe beef, and prostitutes, according to an indictment against Haas.
Haas pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Commit Bribery,” and according to the indictment, he and a co-conspirator “provided Francis with classified US Navy ship schedules” and used their positions to push others to pay “inflated invoices… [and] suppress competition in contract awards.”
The plea agreement reached by Haas and his attorneys allowed him to plead guilty to the one count of “Conspiracy to Commit Bribery” while the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed other charges such as “Bribery [and] Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Fraud.”
Haas was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Besides his sentence, he was ordered to pay almost $91,000 in restitution and assessed a $30,000 fine.
Fat Leonard Gets Away
Francis pled guilty to charges in 2015, but as of January 4, 2023, he had not yet been sentenced, which could be attributed to the fact that he cut off his ankle bracelet while under house arrest (on Labor Day weekend 2022), fleeing the country, and is now in Venezuela seeking asylum to stave off American authorities.
Even after pleading guilty, Francis was living in a luxurious house being guarded by private security rather than police, which came to the attention of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). He sent a letter dated November 1 to Roslynn Mauskopf, Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, seeking some answers.
Grassley asked why there was a delay in notifying authorities that his ankle bracelet had been removed and that his neighbors had reported seeing “U-Haul moving trucks” at Francis’s house in the days before he left. In her response, Mauskopf spent many words essentially saying, thanks for asking, but we aren’t telling.
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