Three current and former U.S. Navy officers charged in bribery case

By Reuters   May 27, 2016 | 06:47 pm PT
Three current and former U.S. Navy officers have been charged with participating in an alleged bribery and fraud scheme involving a Singapore-based defense contractor, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.

Retired Navy Captain Michael Brooks, 57, Commander Bobby Pitts, 47, and Lieutenant Commander Gentry Debord, 47, were charged on Wednesday in connection with the case involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a company that serviced ships in the Navy's Pacific Fleet, the department said.

In all, 13 people have been charged in the case and nine have pleaded guilty, including former Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) Chief Executive Officer Leonard Francis, a Malaysian businessman known as "Fat Leonard." He pleaded guilty last year to bribery charges.

Brooks and Debord were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, and Pitts was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of obstruction of justice, the department said.

Brooks, Pitts and Debord could not be reached for comment.

The indictment alleges that Brooks, who served as the U.S. naval attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, used his position to benefit Francis in exchange for travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes.

Pitts, who was officer in charge of the Navy's Fleet Industrial Supply Command, allegedly interfered with the Navy's investigations of Francis's company in exchange for entertainment, meals and the services of a prostitute, according to court documents.

Debord, who worked in logistics and supply in the western Pacific, allegedly received cash, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes in exchange for giving Francis information on a Navy investigation into GDMA's billing practices and on competitors' bids, the indictment said.

Brooks and Pitts made their initial appearances Friday in a U.S. District Court in Virginia and Debord appeared in U.S. District Court in Southern California. All three were granted bond.

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