Retired Navy captain sentenced in bribery case - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Retired Navy captain sentenced in bribery case

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Michael Brooks was sentenced in federal court Friday to 41 months in prison for his role in a massive bribery and fraud scheme involving foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis and his firm, Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino also ordered Brooks, 59, to pay a $40,000 fine and $31,000 in restitution to the Navy. The defendant was ordered to report for custody Aug. 18.

Brooks, who lives in Virginia, pleaded guilty last November to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Brooks, who served as the U.S. Naval Attache at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, from 2006 to 2008, admitted accepting bribes of travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes.

In return, Brooks used his power and influence to benefit GDMA and Francis, including by securing quarterly clearances for GDMA vessels, which allowed GDMA vessels to transit into and out of the Philippines under the diplomatic imprimatur of the U.S. Embassy, authorities said. Neither GDMA nor any other defense contractor had ever been granted such unfettered clearances, before or since, according to prosecutors.

Brooks also allowed Francis to ghostwrite official U.S. Navy documents and correspondence, which Brooks submitted as his own. For example, Brooks allowed GDMA to complete its own contractor performance evaluations. A November 2007 evaluation, drafted by GDMA and submitted by Brooks, described the company's performance as "phenomenal," "unsurpassed," "exceptional" and `world class," authorities said.

Prosecutors said Brooks also provided Francis with sensitive, internal U.S. Navy information, including U.S. Navy ship schedules and billing information belonging to a GDMA competitor, at times using a private Yahoo! email account to mask his illicit acts. Often in conjunction with Brooks taking action in favor of GDMA, Brooks and Francis would discuss prostitutes and partying in coded language, referring to prostitutes as a "Choc (S)hake Booster" and a "MOCHA shake."

"You sold out for so little," Sammartino told the defendant.

Brooks' attorney, Emily Gurskis, told the judge Brooks is a changed man and continues to make amends for his illegal actions after a 30-year Navy career.

"Mike Brooks lost his moral compass along the way," his attorney told the judge.

Brooks said he takes full responsibility for his crimes.

"There's no excuse for my behavior," he told the judge.

Twenty-one current and former Navy officials have been charged so far in the fraud and bribery investigation. Ten have pleaded guilty and 10 cases are pending. In addition, five GDMA executives and GDMA the corporation have pleaded guilty.

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