‘Fat Leonard’ Churns On But Misses the Most Valuable Targets

The Fat Leonard scandal continues to haunt the Navy. In late January, the first commissioned officer to be sentenced for his part in the bribery scandal, Lieutenant Todd Malaki, was sent to prison for three years and four months.

“I stand before you dishonest, disgraced and without excuse,” Malaki said in court. “… I endangered my shipmates and my country.”

Malaki, a 25-year Navy veteran, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery as part of a plea deal with investigators. He will follow Petty Officer 1st Class Dan Layug to prison. Layug, 27, entered his guilty plea earlier in January.

Seven other defendants, a mix of both Navy officers, enlisted men and civilians, have already pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Additionally, over a hundred other people remain under investigation.

Leonard Francis
Leonard Francis

Leonard Francis, the Malaysian defense contractor at the heart of the scandal, remains in prison. He has already pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges. Francis, known as Fat Leonard because of his size, used contacts within the Navy to ensure that ships on deployment were routed to his shipyards for maintenance and overhauls in the Pacific. In all, he overbilled the U.S. Navy more than $20 million.

The scandal has reached the highest levels of the Navy, with three flag officers being censured for their role in the bribery and corruption case. It is unlikely that any of the Admirals will face criminal charges. Currently, rebukes, forced retirements and demotions appear to be the upper limit that the Navy is willing to go.

That’s unfortunate.

Position and authority should not be a barrier to justice. If these Admirals are guilty – and it is hard to believe that they aren’t, considering the actions already taken against them – they should be charged with a crime and get their day in court. Justice should not change because you wear stars on your shoulder boards.

And being censured or forced to retire is not the same thing as spending 40 months in prison.

Let the investigation continue. If admirals are accused of bribery or conspiracy, charge them – just like you charged Lt Malaki, PO Layug and others – and let them defend their actions in court. Justice should be blind; the gleam of those admiral stars doesn’t matter.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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1 thought on “‘Fat Leonard’ Churns On But Misses the Most Valuable Targets

  1. The higher up you go, the more risk you run that previous relationships, direct or indirect, acquired through the passage of time will affect the outcome of decisions about whether to prosecute or not.

    Also, few people make it into the upper echelons without a blot or two on their copybook. Some of those blots are mistakes, some may be more sinister. Either way, there is a real incentive to keep those blots hidden.

    Given the presence of both blots and relationships, is it any wonder that people in high places often face a softer form of justice than do those at lower levels. That is, if those in high places ever face justice!

    The inevitable questions then arise as to how many people in high places remain unexposed, what influence can they peddle, and on whose behalf? And that also includes on behalf of foreign governments!

    After all, there is plenty of history around a range of foreign governments running false flag ops to corrupt people in key positions, and not just for the information available today, but also for the influence potentially available into the future.

    What better argument for a fully independent public corruption investigation and prosecution authority beholden to no one!

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