Ex-Navy officer gets prison in 'Fat Leonard' bribery case

Posted at 6:50 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-19 21:50:30-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A disgraced former U.S. naval officer was sentenced in San Diego today to two and a half years in prison for his role in a wide-ranging bribery and fraud case involving a notorious one-time foreign defense contractor.

Ex-Navy Cmdr. Troy Amundson, 50, is the latest naval official to be sentenced for corrupt acts committed at the behest of Malaysian national Leonard Glenn "Fat Leonard" Francis and his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

Earlier this year, Amundson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, admitting that he schemed with Francis and others to receive gifts, including entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes, in exchange for taking official actions for the benefit of GDMA.

Francis, for his part, pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges and conceded that he had presided over a massive decade-long conspiracy involving scores of U.S. Navy officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud and a glut of bribes and gifts -- from cash, prostitutes and luxury travel to Cuban cigars, Kobe beef and Spanish suckling pigs.

From 2005 to 2013, Amundson coordinated the Navy's joint military exercises with its foreign maritime counterparts. As part of those duties, he was responsible for building and maintaining cooperative relationships with the Navy's foreign naval-exercise partners.

The defendant, a resident of Ramsey, Minnesota, admitted that Francis paid for dinner, drinks, transportation, various entertainment expenses and prostitutes for him and other U.S. Navy officers from September 2012 through October 2013.

On one occasion, according to prosecutors, Amundson wrote to Francis from a private email account, proffering internal proprietary Navy information: "I am a small dog just trying to get a bone ... however I am very happy with my small program. I still need 5 minutes to pass some data when we can meet up. Cannot print."

That night, Francis provided prostitutes from Mongolia for Amundson, according to prosecutors. Having passed Navy ship schedules to Francis and taken numerous other actions for GDMA in violation of his official duties, Amundson was interrogated by federal criminal investigators in October 2013.

As part of his plea agreement, Amundson admitted that he deleted all his private email account correspondence with Francis following his interview with law enforcement agents.

"Amundson cavalierly and selfishly traded on a sacred position of trust, selling his honor to a foreign defense contractor in exchange for prostitutes and entertainment expenses," San Diego-area U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said. "We will vigorously enforce the law when a public official puts his own selfish personal interests ahead of the interests of the Navy and our nation."

So far, 33 defendants have been charged in the case, and 21 have pleaded guilty, many admitting that they accepted luxury travel, parties and prostitution services from Francis in exchange for helping the contractor win and maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by millions of dollars.

In addition to handing down the 30-month custody term, U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino ordered Amundson to serve three years of post-prison supervised release and pay a $10,000 fine along with $21,625.60 in restitution.