The Navy’s first court-martial in connection with the Leonard “Fat Leonard” Francis scandal ended with a guilty plea Jan. 11 in a military courtroom at Norfolk Naval Station.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian T. Ware pleaded guilty to four specifications of a single charge of Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — violation of lawful order — and two specifications of a single charge of Article 135 — graft.
According to a verified document obtained by Navy Times in which Ware explained his case, he agreed to the plea deal because Navy officials promised him favorable consideration in keeping his retirement.
Ware was sentenced by trial judge Capt. Deborah S. Mayer, of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, to six months confinement in the brig and a $10,000 fine.
It will now be up to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer to decide whether Ware will be allowed to retire, and if so, at which paygrade.
The Navy’s charges detail how Ware assisted Mr. Neal Peterson, who was the director of global operations for Glenn Defense Marine Asia, with ordering excess food service supplies — at Peterson’s urging — on multiple occasions. During this time, Ware served as the food service officer on the command ship Blue Ridge and later the carrier George Washington.
For his part in bilking the Navy out of millions of dollars, Peterson was sentenced in mid-2017 to 70 months in jail.
Ware was also charged with accepting gifts from Peterson and GDMA in the form of hotels, a car and driver and the use of a cell phone while visiting various ports.
Ware enlisted in the Navy in 1987 and rose to the rank of senior chief petty officer before being selected for warrant officer in 2009. He was promoted to W-4 in June 2016. He was slated to retire in April 2017, but the Navy put him on legal hold while he was being investigated.
All Navy cases being convened in what’s officially known as the Glenn Defense Marine Asia case are being tried in Norfolk. Navy officials expect additional trials to begin later this year.
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.