'Fat Leonard' scandal grows with indictment of three more retired Navy officials
By CRAIG WHITLOCK | The Washington Post | Published: August 17, 2018
The worst corruption scandal in Navy history reached new heights Friday as federal prosecutors announced bribery and fraud charges against three retired sailors, including an officer who allegedly took part in a wild two-day party with prostitutes in Tokyo that cost $75,000.
A grand jury in San Diego indicted retired Capt. David Haas, 50, of Kailua, Hawaii, on charges that he took $145,000 in bribes from Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based defense contractor known as "Fat Leonard" in Navy circles.
Indicted separately on fraud charges were Ricarte Icmat David, 61, a retired master chief petty officer who now lives in the Philippines, and Brooks Alonzo Parks, 46, a retired chief petty officer who lives in Naples, Italy, according to the Justice Department.
As of Friday, none of the defendants had made a court appearance, and it could not be determined if they had retained lawyers. It was also unclear if David or Parks would voluntarily return to the United States to face charges or if federal officials would have to seek their extradition.
Federal investigators have been scrutinizing Haas' conduct ever since the corruption scandal became public five years ago.
Shortly after Francis was arrested in a sting operation in San Diego in September 2013, Navy officials announced that Haas had been suspended from his military duties and placed under criminal investigation by the Justice Department. But authorities provided no further updates on his case until Friday. Haas retired from the Navy in September 2016 and now works for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to his LinkedIn profile.
"Capt. Haas is innocent of the charges and we will defend the case in a court of law," said his attorney, Jeremiah Sullivan III of San Diego.
According to the indictment, Haas accepted a series of bribes from Francis in 2011 and 2012 when the captain was serving as director of maritime operations for the Navy's 7th Fleet, based in Japan. In exchange, Haas allegedly acted as a secret mole for Francis to help drum up business for his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which held $250 million in contracts to resupply Navy ships and submarines in the Western Pacific.
In June 2012, for example, Francis paid more than $75,000 for Haas and other Navy officers to spend an extravagant two days in Tokyo, where they partied at several clubs with prostitutes, according to the indictment. On another night in Tokyo in November 2011, Francis allegedly spent more than $20,000 for Haas and other officers to dine at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and spend the evening with prostitutes.
David is charged with accepting $40,000 in cash bribes from Francis, as well as prostitutes and other gifts.
Parks is charged with accepting lavish hotel suites, airlines tickets and other gifts from Francis.
Francis pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption charges in 2015 and has been cooperating with investigators since then.
All told, the Justice Department has filed criminal charges against 32 defendants who worked for the Navy or Francis's company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia. But those represent only a fraction of the people swept up in the scandal.
Separately, the Justice Department has provided the Navy with dossiers on 550 people who had contact with Francis — including about 60 admirals — to determine whether they violated military law or ethics rules.