US (Sputnik) – An active-duty US Navy commander pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking part in a bribery and fraud conspiracy that cost the government millions of dollars.
Cmdr. Bobby Pitts is the 18th person to plead guilty in a scam connected to a defense contractor in Singapore known as “Fat Leonard” Francis that spanned a decade and garnered $35 million.
Pitts, 48, of Chesapeake, Virginia, entered his plea in San Diego.
According to authorities, Francis bribed at least 27 US Navy officials with Cuban cigars, the services of at least one sex worker, cash and even Spanish suckling pigs for overbilling the Navy on services like food and fuel that his company provided to US vessels docked in Southeast Asia.
While Pitts was in charge of the Navy’s Fleet Industrial Supply Command in Singapore from 2009 to 2011, Pitts was privy to information regarding a Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe into Francis’ overbilling.
Pitts admitted to obstructing a federal investigation, by sharing emails and other internal information about the Navy’s probe and helping Francis cover up the scheme and stay just of the reach of authorities.
In March, acting US Attorney Alana Robinson described the corruption to CNN as “fleecing and betrayal of the United States Navy in epic proportions, was allegedly carried out by the Navy’s highest-ranking officers.”
On Friday, two former executives of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), the maritime services company of which Francis is CEO, were the latest to be sentenced in the scandal.
Linda Raja, GDMA’s general manager for Singapore, Australia and the Pacific Islands, received a 46-month sentence, while Vice President for Global Operations Neil Peterson received 70 months, according to the San Diego Tribune.
Pitts faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced on December 1.
This article was reprinted from Sputnik News.