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Former Navy captain sentenced for accepting bribes in 'Fat Leonard' scandal

The sign outside of the Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse in downtown San Diego, August 23, 2018.
Christopher Underwood
The sign outside of the Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse in downtown San Diego, Aug. 23, 2018.

A former U.S. Navy captain was sentenced in San Diego federal court to two years and six months in federal prison on Thursday for accepting more than $90,000 worth of bribes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn "Fat Leonard" Francis.

Prosecutors said David Williams Haas, 54, took "luxurious hotel stays, travel and prostitutes" from Francis between 2011 and 2013. Like other Navy officers implicated in the scandal, Haas was accused of helping steer Navy ships to ports controlled by Francis' ship-husbanding company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

According to a prosecution sentencing memorandum, Haas' responsibilities included "directing the day-to-day operations for all U.S. Navy ships operating within the Seventh Fleet's area of responsibility, as well as setting the schedules for these ships," which allowed him to arrange ship visits to GDMA-controlled ports when Francis requested.


On one such occasion, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis made a port visit to Sepangar, Malaysia, at Francis' behest. GDMA billed the Navy more than $2.7 million for the visit, prosecutors said.

When investigators began looking into allegations that GDMA had overbilled the Navy for port visits, prosecutors said Haas defended GDMA to others in the Navy and advised Francis on how to respond to the accusations.

Haas was indicted in 2018 and pleaded guilty two years later to conspiracy to commit bribery. In addition to prison, Haas was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and $90,968.82 in restitution.

In a letter submitted by his defense attorney, Haas wrote: "The prosecution will more than likely say that I was a good Naval officer and a great operator, and for exactly that reason, I, more than anyone, should have known that my relationship with Mr. Francis was wrong. I am not going to counter that. The prosecution is absolutely right."

Four other Navy officers were convicted in 2022 of accepting bribes during a jury trial held in San Diego, and dozens of others have pleaded guilty to various offenses.


Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 and was on house arrest in San Diego for several years because of health issues. He fled the country in 2022, but was arrested in Venezuela, where he remains in custody.