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Former US Navy captain sentenced in massive bribery scandal

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A former U.S. Navy captain who was caught up in a massive contracting scandal was sentenced Thursday to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for taking nearly $91,000 in bribes.

Retired Capt. David Haas also was ordered to make restitution and to pay a $30,000 fine.

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Prosecutors said Haas, 54, of Kailua, Hawaii, was among dozens of Navy officials who were bribed to help obtain defense contracts for a man known as “Fat Leonard” Francis.

Francis owned Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA, which supplied food, water and fuel to vessels for decades. He has acknowledged overbilling the Navy by $35 million with the help of officers whom he plied with prostitutes, Kobe beef, cigars and other bribes so they would direct their ships to Pacific ports Francis controlled in Southeast Asia.

More than 30 people have been convicted or pleaded guilty in the sweeping corruption case. Francis, who also pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2015, was awaiting sentencing when he fled home confinement in San Diego last year and is now in custody in Venezuela, where he has requested asylum.

From 2011 to 2013, Haas, who was captain of the 7th Fleet command ship Blue Ridge, accepted tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of entertainment, including hotel rooms, prostitutes, alcohol and dinners, during multi-day parties arranged by Francis overseas, prosecutors said.

Haas pleaded guilty in 2020 to conspiracy to commit bribery, a charge that could have carried up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In federal court in San Diego on Thursday, he told the judge he had brought shame on his family and the Navy and tarnished his two-decade career, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

“I should never have had a relationship with that guy,” Haas said. “I should never have allowed Leonard Francis into anywhere.”