By Tiffany Williams –
Today, in the U.S. District Court in San Diego, former U.S. Navy Captain Donald Hornbeck pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official.
Hornbeck who directed the operations of all combatant ships in the Seventh Fleet, accepted at least $67,830 in extravagant dinners, hotels, parties and prostitutes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Francis in exchange for breaching his official duty to the U.S. Navy.
In pleading guilty, Hornbeck admitted that he corruptly used his official position to benefit Francis, the owner and CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a ship husbanding company that serviced U.S. Navy ships in the Asia Pacific region.
Additionally, he admitted that he endeavored to send Navy ships into ports serviced by GDMA, shared confidential Navy information with Francis in order to help GDMA and helped with evaluating and indoctrinating potential new Navy members to help Francis.
The Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Defense Contract Audit Agency jointly conducted an investigation which led to Hornbeck and eight other members of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet being indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2017 for conspiring with Francis and for receiving bribes.
Hornbeck and three other Seventh Fleet defendants have now pleaded guilty. The remaining defendants, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless, Captain David Newland, Captain James Dolan and Captain David Lausman along with Commander Mario Herrera are scheduled to go to trial on February 28, 2022. They are accused of conspiring to trade military secrets and substantial influence for sex parties with prostitutes and luxurious dinners and travel, among other lavish things of value.
An overarching fraud and bribery investigation has resulted in federal criminal charges against 34 U.S. Navy officials, defense contractors and the GDMA corporation. So far, 29 of those have pleaded guilty, admitting collectively that they accepted millions of dollars in luxury travel and accommodations, meals, lavish gifts, or services of prostitutes, among many other things of value, from Francis in exchange for helping GDMA win and maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by over $35 million.
On February 24, 2007, during the U.S.S. Blue Ridge’s port visit to Singapore, Hornbeck and others attended a cocktail reception hosted by Francis on the helipad of the Jaan Restaurant atop the Shangri-La Hotel, followed by an extravagant dinner and live entertainment. On March 24, 2007, Hornbeck and others attended a multi-course dinner hosted by Francis at the Oak Door in Tokyo, Japan. On January 29, 2008, during the U.S.S. Blue Ridge’s port visit to Hong Kong, Francis hosted and paid for a dinner event in the Alsace Room of the Petrus Restaurant, which Hornbeck and several others attended. On May 2, 2008, Hornbeck and others stayed at Francis’ expense for one night at the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok. Incident to the U.S.S. Blue Ridge’s port visit to Singapore from May 6-9, 2008, Hornbeck and others stayed at Francis’s expense at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. On May 6, 2008, Francis hosted dinner at Mezza9 in Singapore, after which, Francis arranged for several prostitutes to entertain Hornbeck and others. On May 22-25, 2008, during a port visit by the U.S.S. Blue Ridge to Manila, Philippines, Hornbeck and several others stayed at Francis’ expense at the Makati Shangri-La in Manila, Philippines.