First Military Trial In Navy's 'Fat Leonard' Scandal Results In Guilty Plea

news
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian Ware, left, food services officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), serves junior sailors and their departmental leaders during a recognition luncheon hosted by the ship's food services division, April, 23, 2013.
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin K. Kittleson

The first sailor to face a military trial in connection with the Navy's expansive "Fat Leonard" corruption scandal has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to six months confinement and a $10,000 fine.


Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian Ware pleaded guilty to ethics violations during a court-martial at Naval Station Norfolk on Thursday that included violation of a lawful order and graft. Prosecutors said he accepted more than $8,000 worth of hotel rooms, cell phones and personal drivers during more than a dozen port visits in Asia that were paid for by Glenn Marine Defense Asia.

Ware was the food service officer aboard the 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge and the aircraft carrier USS George Washington from 2010 to 2013. In that role, he placed food orders with Glenn Marine Defense Asia, which was the only authorized contractor at the time. Company officials said they were able to significantly mark up the price of the orders Ware made, which ranged from small amounts to up to $100,000. While the Navy used a standard 21-day menu, Ware had discretion to decide which items to buy and in which quantities, according to a stipulation of facts Ware signed.

Ware has lived in Japan since 2009 and is currently assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan. He enlisted in 1987 and was charged by the military less than two weeks before he was set to retire. He is one of five sailors who has been charged by the Navy in connection with the "Fat Leonard" scandal instead of the Justice Department.

“Fat Leonard” is the nickname for Leonard Francis, the owner and chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to presiding over a conspiracy involving “scores” of Navy officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud, and millions of dollars in bribes and gifts in return for lucrative contracts to provide services to ships while in southeast Asia, according to the Justice Department.

During his sentencing hearing, Ware broke down emotionally and said he was ashamed of what he had done and that his wife in Japan and their newly adopted 2-year-old daughter would suffer.

"I lost everything. I love this uniform. I love the Navy," Ware, 49, said through tears.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 15 months, while Ware's defense attorney noted that Ware was a "small fish" in the "Fat Leonard" scandal that's ensnared admirals and asked that he only pay a fine and deal with the consequences of being a convicted felon who may not be able to return to Japan because of that country's strict immigration laws and his status as a felon.

———

©2018 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

Read More Show Less
Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

Read More Show Less
Indiana National Guard

The Indiana National Guard soldier who was killed on Thursday in a training accident at Fort Hood has been identified as 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew Michael St. John, of Greenwood, Indiana.

Read More Show Less

QUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war.

Read More Show Less