Chief Warrant Officer Pleads Guilty to International Navy Corruption and Fraud Scandal | USAO-SDCA
Assistant US Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher (619) 546-9714, Michelle Wasserman (619) 546-8431, Valerie Chu (619) 546-6750 and David Chu (619) 546-8266
SUMMARY OF THE PRESS RELEASE – August 31, 2021
SAN DIEGO – Retired Chief Warrant Officer Robert Gorsuch today admitted in federal court that he received more than $ 45,000 in bribes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Francis , who offered him luxury hotel stays as well as meals, entertainment and other gifts in exchange for official acts that would help Francis’s ship maintenance business, including the disclosure of multiple schedules of classified vessels.
Gorsuch was one of nine members of the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet indicted in March 2017 for participating in a conspiracy with Francis, the owner and CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet is an essential part of the US military’s power projection and of US foreign and national security policy. The largest numbered fleet in the United States Navy, the Seventh Fleet is made up of 60 to 70 ships, 200 to 300 aircraft, and approximately 40,000 sailors and marines. The Seventh Fleet is responsible for the ships of the United States Navy and subordinate commands operating in the Western Pacific throughout Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia, Russia and the Indian Ocean Territories. , as well as ships and personnel from other US Navy fleets entering the Seventh Fleet. area of ââresponsibility
Gorsuch is the first of the Seventh Fleet accused to plead guilty. The remaining defendants, who are charged with exchanging military secrets and exerting considerable influence over sex parties with prostitutes, extravagant dinners and luxury travel, are due in court on November 1, 2021. They are due to appear in court on November 1, 2021. They are due to appear in court. include US Navy Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless; Captains David Newland, James Dolan, Donald Hornbeck and David Lausman; Colonel Enrico DeGuzman; Lieutenant Commander Stephen Shedd; and Commander Mario Herrera.
This case resulted in federal criminal charges against 34 Navy officials, defense contractors and the GDMA company. So far, 26 of them have pleaded guilty, admitting that they collectively accepted millions of dollars in luxury travel and accommodation, meals or prostitute services from Francis in return for helping GDMA win and maintaining contracts and overcharging the Navy by over $ 35 million.
âGorsuch basically sold his honor for a few nights at the Shangri-La,â Acting US Attorney Randy Grossman said. âGorsuch sacrificed his integrity for so little and caused so much harm in the process. Today, Gorsuch has acknowledged his role in this scandal and will be held accountable for his conduct.
Gorsuch was a Chief Warrant Officer in the US Navy, who from January 2005 to March 2008 served as the Seventh Fleet Flag Administration Officer. In this role, he provided administrative support to the Seventh Fleet Commander, Department Heads and other senior officers of the Seventh Fleet staff.
According to his plea deal, Gorsuch admitted to receiving the following bribes from Francis:
On or about February 8, 2007, Gorsuch and others attended a party at the Manila Hotel in Manila, Philippines, for which Francis paid an expense of approximately $ 15,000.
On or about February 11, 2007, Gorsuch and others stayed at Francis’ expense at the Shangri-La Hotel in Cebu, Philippines.
From March 1 to 5, 2007, Gorsuch stayed at Francis’ expense at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
On or about June 17, 2007, Gorsuch and others dined at Francis’ expense at Altitude Shangri-La in Sydney, Australia.
On or about January 19, 2008, the Respondent and others stayed at Francis’ expense for two nights at the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo.
According to the admissions in his plea agreement, Gorsuch returned the favor by sending Francis discs containing schedules of ships classified for the Navy’s Seventh Fleet. In an email to Francis on October 25, 2007, Gorsuch wrote: âBy the way, both discsâ¦ yellow is the last with the current C7F sked as briefed to the boss. I will investigate the dates of the ships you requested and will get back to you shortly. Two days later, Gorsuch, using the same e-mail account, sent Francis an e-mail describing the planned movements of the USS Tarawa and the USS Hopper from December 17 to 21, 2007. Likewise, on or about on August 3, 2008, Francis emailed Gorsuch to the same email account to request: “I need [ship schedule] updates. When should I call you? Gorsuch responded, âSked is fluctuating a lot right now – should start solidifying next week. Will email you when they finish cutting it up next week and we can talk.
“Sir. Gorsuch’s guilty plea unequivocally commemorates his participation in the indicted bribery scheme, in which he and others sacrificed the honor of serving our great nation with distinction in return for personal gain,” said Kelly P. Mayo, Director of the Department of Defense Inspector’s Office. General, Defense Criminal Investigation Department. “The comprehensive joint investigation that uncovered Mr. Gorsuch’s illegal activities is only one example of the efforts DCIS and its investigative partners will make to bring justice to the combatant and uphold the integrity of the men and women who truly exemplify service before themselves. “
âMr. Gorsuch will be held fully responsible for accepting lavish gifts in exchange for, among other things, passing classified information to Mr. Francis and the GDMA,â said NCIS Director Omar Lopez. NCIS and our law enforcement partners remain committed to eliminating bribery and corruption wherever they exist, and countering the potentially serious consequences that flow from them. â
RESPONDENT File number: 17-CR-0623-JLS
Chief Warrant Officer (Retired) Robert Gorsuch Age: 54 Mississippi
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES
Corruption in violation of 18 USC Â§ 201
Maximum penalty: Fifteen years in prison, $ 250,000 fine
Defense Criminal Investigation Department
Navy Criminal Investigation Service
Defense contract audit agency