Former Navy officer pleads guilty in ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal

Former Navy officer pleads guilty in ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal
© Getty

A former Navy officer this week pleaded guilty to criminal conflict of interest charges in the so-called "Fat Leonard" controversy, the worst and farthest-reaching corruption scandal in Navy history. 

Jeffrey Breslau is the latest of dozens of Navy officials who have pleaded guilty during the Department of Justice's (DOJ) expansive investigation into the scandal.


Breslau on Tuesday admitted he received approximately $65,000 for "public relations consulting services" from the man at the center of the scandal, Malaysian contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, according to the DOJ release. 

Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges, admitting that he bribed officers with extravagant parties, luxury gifts, prostitutes and more in exchange for classified information to win lucrative contracts for his Glenn Defense Marine Asia company.

Breslau in his guilty plea admitted he "'ghostwrote' numerous emails on Francis' behalf to be transmitted to U.S. Navy personnel," wrote over 130 emails providing Francis with advice, and "authored, reviewed or edited" documents to help him curry favor with naval officers.  

He also provided "at least 14 instances" in which he provided Francis with "talking points" ahead of meetings with high-ranking Navy personnel.

Breslau did not disclose the thousands of dollars he received from Francis between March 2012 until September 2013. He was a captain in the U.S. Navy, assigned as director of public affairs for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, at the time.

So far in the "Fat Leonard" case, 33 defendants have been charged and 22 have pleaded guilty. Many of those involved in the scandal admitted they accepted bribes from Francis in exchange for helping him "maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by millions of dollars." 

Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson in March 2017 described the controversy as "fleecing and betrayal of the United States Navy in epic proportions, [which] was allegedly carried out by the Navy's highest-ranking officers," CNN reported.