A federal grand jury in San Diego on Friday charged three retired sailors — a captain and two senior enlisted personnel — in the ongoing Fat Leonard corruption scandal.
Unsealed indictments allege that Capt. David W. Haas, 50, took at least $145,000 in bribes from Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, the Malaysian tycoon and defense contractor who since his late 2013 arrest in a San Diego sting has ratted out a string of corrupt sailors who steered ships to his port services.
The portly Francis plied commanders and other key figures with cash, “Thai SEAL team” prostitutes, luxury resort rooms and other perks in order to bilk $35 million from American taxpayers.
Prosecutors have charged 32 defendants and 20 have pleaded guilty to public corruption charges over the past five years.
Separate indictments released Friday targeted retired Master Chief Petty Officer Ricarte Icmat David, 61, and retired Chief Petty Officer Brooks Alonzo Parks for allegedly taking other perks from Francis.
All three defendants allegedly traded on their rank and influence within the Navy to pay bloated invoices submitted by the now defunct company Francis led, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, and steer ships to ports it controlled or otherwise assist Fat Leonard by leaking internal military records on his commercial competitors, among other favors.
Criminal defense attorney Jeremiah J. Sullivan, III, told Navy Times that Haas will surrender voluntarily to federal agents on Aug. 30 in San Diego.
Haas currently lives in Kailua, Hawaii.
“He is innocent and will be prepared to litigate his case in a court of law," said Sullivan, who also represented convicted Lt. Cmdr. Todd Dale Malaki.
Released from prison on March 28, Malaki, 47, swapped classified Navy ship schedules and other sensitive information to Francis for cash, hotel rooms and prostitution services, the same allegations now dogging Haas.
In 2011 Francis met Haas in Tokyo, feting the director of Maritime Operations for the Japan-based 7th Fleet at the Ritz Carlton and plying him and others with prostitutes at a cost of more than $20,000, according to the grand jury documents.
At around the same time, Francis was throwing a “50th birthday” party for the wives of Haas and others, court records indicate.
The next year, Francis allegedly spent more than $75,000 buying Haas and his Navy cronies lavish hotel rooms, top-shelf booze and prostitutes at a luxury resort in Indonesia.
In late 2012, the grand jury determined that Francis brought Haas and his co-conspirator, Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz, back to the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo.
Serving a sentence of more than six years at the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, California, Misiewicz slid Francis a dossier containing classified 7th Fleet ship schedules and other documents that included information about ballistic missile operations in the Western Pacific Ocean.
Prosecutors now say that Haas was in the room when he did it. Francis, Haas and Misiewicz then allegedly scanned a Navy organizational chart to pick potential heirs to their corrupt empire when Misiewicz returned to the United States from the 7th Fleet in late 2012.
The grand jury in San Diego also determined that Haas allegedly ordered Misiewicz to email Francis an internal Navy message outlining the upcoming port visit to Manila by the guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald.
But that was far from all, according to federal court records.
Francis allegedly bought Haas prostitutes in Malaysia in 2013 when the 7th Fleet’s flagship, the Blue Ridge, pulled into Port Klang. And Fat Leonard always had more prostitutes ready for the captain in South Korea, Singapore and Sydney, prosecutors say.
On June 24, 2013, Francis sent an email to his staffers, telling them about an upcoming port visit by the George Washington Carrier Strike Group to Malaysia. For that services proposal, he added, they should “screw them nicely.”
Prosecutors allege the fix was in because Francis already knew “my brother Capt Dave Haas” had rigged the port call through the Pacific Fleet commander as “(h)is farewell present to me” before the captain rotated back to San Diego.
After the arrest of Francis in late 2013, the brass removed Haas, a Naval Academy graduate, from command of San Diego-based Coastal Riverine Group 1. He previously had commanded the guided-missile frigate Thach.
Because he wasn’t indicted, however, the Navy allowed him to retire with his rank.
Far below Haas in rank, Master Chief Petty Officer David, 61, also was crooked, prosecutors contend.
David held key logistics positions between 2001 and 2010 in the Western Pacific, including posts at the Fleet Industrial Supply Center in Yokosuka, Japan and aboard the amphibious warship Essex and the aircraft carriers Kitty Hawk and George Washington.
When the Essex pulled into Hong Kong in late 2005, Francis allegedly handed David $15,000 in cash so that the senior enlisted leader would approve inflated invoices, according to the charge sheets. David later allegedly emailed Francis thanks for the “wonderful Christmas present.”
David allegedly emailed Francis again in early 2006, asking to see if they could “make some business again just like we did in Hong Kong” because he needed “some cash before I retire,” prosecutors allege.
In other correspondence, David would identify himself as “Bad Boy" — the sort of master chief who would let bogus invoices for water, trash, force protection and other services get paid — and Francis as “Boss.”
David’s motives for the graft included the need for money to build a retirement home in the Philippines, prosecutors say. That’s why he allegedly took another $15,000 cash bribe from Fat Leonard in 2009, according to the indictment.
Investigators calculate that Francis paid David a total of $40,000 in cash. In exchange, David allegedly leaked Fat Leonard classified information and internal data about his business competitors and sided with him in contract disputes involving the Navy, prosecutors allege.
The third indictment takes aim at Chief Petty Officer Parks, 46, a former logistics lead petty officer for the 7th Fleet; an assessor and instructor at the Afloat Training Group, Western Pacific; and until his early 2016 retirement a material and supply lead petty officer at Naval Supply Systems Command in Naples, Italy, where he currently lives.
On June 20, 2006, Parks allegedly emailed an executive at Glenn Defense Marine Asia to arrange for a hotel suite while he was on liberty, writing, “It feels good living like a KING on an E-6′s salary!!!”
That began a string of Fat Leonard payments for luxury hotel stays for Parks and other unidentified enlisted sailors or a female guest in Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur — with rooms ranging in price from $3,000 to $4,000 per night, according to the indictment.
On April 3, 2007, Parks informed Glenn Defense Marine Asia that he would assist on processing an invoice and noting the Navy would “take care of this immediately,” prosecutors allege.
The next day, Parks told the company that he’d been bitten by the “Glenn Bug man” and assured them that “I’ve got your back like you’ve got mine," according to the indictment.
Parks then leaked Glenn Defense Marine Asia details on the Blue Ridge supply needs in the Philippines and competitor information about another ship’s port visit to Cebu. He also allegedly slid the company ship movement information for the guided-missile destroyers Paul Hamilton and Stethem.
Attempts by Navy Times to reach Parks were unsuccessful and it remains unclear if he has retained legal counsel.
Prine came to Navy Times after stints at the San Diego Union-Tribune and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors and the Combat Infantryman Badge.