Navy captain gets prison for role in ‘Fat Leonard’ corruption scheme

U.S. Navy Capt. Jeffrey Breslau (left) and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Stearney (right) (Photo by Marc Benshetler/U.S.Navy)

SAN DIEGO — A former U.S. Navy captain who accepted money from a foreign defense contractor as part of a wide-ranging corruption scandal was sentenced Friday to six months in federal custody.

Jeffrey Breslau, previously director of public affairs for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, pleaded guilty last year to a conflict of interest charge for surreptitiously assisting Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis and his Singapore-based ship husbanding company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, in Francis’ relations with top Navy brass.

Prosecutors say Breslau, 52, of Cumming, Ga., “sold his fiduciary alliance for $65,000” by giving Francis advice on how to respond to issues related to his business, including “port visit costs, allegations of malfeasance such as the unauthorized dumping of waste, disputes with competitors and issues with Pacific Fleet and contracting personnel.”

In 2012 and 2013, Breslau provided Francis with public relations consulting services, authored, reviewed or edited at least 33 separate documents; crafted at least 135 emails providing advice to Francis; drew up at least 14 instances of “talking points” in advance of meetings between Francis and high-ranking U.S. Navy personnel; and “ghostwrote” numerous emails on Francis’s behalf to be transmitted to U.S. Navy personnel, court papers show.

Breslau also consulted with Francis on how best “to create relationships with five Navy admirals and win or maintain lucrative Navy contracts” for Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

“The breadth and scope of defendant’s willful illegal conduct in providing consulting services to Francis — in each instance assisting Francis against the U.S. Navy — substantially disrupted the functions of the U.S. Navy,” prosecutors outlined in a sentencing memo. “In nearly every instance, defendant’s work consisted of advocating for Francis and against the U.S. Navy, against its officers, against its senior civilian leaders and against its enlisted sailors.”

Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges related to providing a plethora of gifts to U.S. Navy officials, including travel accommodations, hotel stays, alcohol, prostitutes, Cuban cigars and more, in exchange for directing contracts toward his firm and providing him with confidential information on Navy operations and personnel.

To this point, 33 defendants have been charged in the scandal, and 22 have pleaded guilty, according to federal prosecutors.

“Breslau was secretly advocating for Leonard Francis behind the backs of his Navy colleagues,” U.S. Attorney Robert S. Brewer said. “Breslau’s deceit was part of an astounding culture of corruption that has been exposed and eliminated as a result of this historic investigation.”

In addition to the six-month sentence, Breslau must pay $65,000 in restitution to the Navy, a $20,000 fine, and perform 250 hours of community service.

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