Defense

Navy Commander Sent To Jail For 18 Months Over Service’s Largest Fraud Scheme

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bobby Pitts was sentenced Friday to 18 months in jail for his role in the largest fraud scheme to ever plague the service.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino scolded Pitts on Friday and told him he had “betrayed the Navy and betrayed the country,” the Associated Press reports.

“Pitts deliberately and methodically undermined government operations and in doing so, diverted his allegiance from his country and colleagues to a foreign defense contractor, and for that, he is paying a high price,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said.

Singapore-based defense contractor Leonard Francis perpetrated the fraud scheme, termed Fat Leonard, which involved numerous high-ranking Navy officials handing him favors in exchange for bribes like cash, prostitutes, Cuban cigars and wild parties.

The scheme allowed Francis to overcharge the Navy on services provided, namely fuel and food, among other things.

Pitts is the latest sentence to be handed down in the case. He pleaded guilty in 2015 to sending internal information to Francis that indicated he was being investigated for his work in government contracting.

Pitts will also have to pay $15,000 in fines to the government and $7,500 in restitution.

The Department of Justice believes that Francis overcharged the Navy by $35 million. Up to this point, the government has charged 28 people, two of whom are admirals, in addition to 19 other Navy officials.

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