Almost four and a half years after his indictment, a former U.S. 7th Fleet official on Tuesday admitted trading schedules of classified ships in exchange for luxury hotel stays, meals and entertainment while helping a company based in Singapore to get inflated maintenance contracts for Navy ships. .
Former Chief Warrant Officer Robert Gorsuch, 54, of Mississippi, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of bribery of a public official, the US attorney’s office in San Diego, California said on Tuesday. Gorsuch could face up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 when convicted, although under the plea deal he agreed to pay an unspecified amount in restitution.
Gorsuch is the first of the so-called “GDMA Nines” – all former 7th Fleet officials indicted in March 2017 – to plead guilty to federal charges in the bribery, conspiracy and bribery investigation involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia and Leonard Glenn Francis, its owner. and CEO.
Gorsuch was the flag administration officer of the 7th Commander and staff based in Yokosuka, Japan, from January 2005 to March 2008. In 2007 and 2008, he gave Francis the schedules of classified ships and planned movements. several ships, including the amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa (LHA-1) and guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70), according to prosecutors. In return, Gorsuch admitted that Francis covered Gorsuch’s expenses worth approximately $ 30,000 while staying at luxury Shangri-La Hotels in Cebu, Philippines; in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Sydney, Australia; and the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo, according to its plea agreement. He also admitted to attending a $ 15,000 party that Francis covered at the hotel in Manila, Philippines.
“Gorsuch basically sold his honor for a few nights at the Shangri-La,” Randy Grossman, acting US attorney for the Southern District of California, said in the announcement. “Gorsuch 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.
Until a week ago, Gorsuch’s case was on track from November 1 along with the other eight defendants from the 7th Fleet: retired Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless; Capts. David Newland, James Dolan, Donald Hornbeck and David Lausman; Marine Corps Col. Enrico DeGuzman; Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Shedd; and Cmdr. Mario Herrera.
These officials “are accused of exchanging military secrets and having substantial influence over sex parties with prostitutes, extravagant dinners and luxury trips,” federal prosecutors said in announcing Gorsuch’s guilty plea.
So far, 34 Navy officials, defense contractors and GDMA employees have been indicted in the case, and 26 have pleaded guilty, Grossman said, “admitting that they have collectively accepted millions of dollars in travel and luxury accommodation, meals or services of prostitutes from Francis in exchange for helping GDMA win and maintain contracts and overcharging the Navy by more than $ 35 million.
“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 exchange for personal gain,” Kelly P Mayo, director of the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, Defense Criminal Investigation Service, said in the statement. “The full joint investigation which uncovered Mr. Gorsuch’s illegal activities did not is just 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.
“Mr. 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,” said Omar Lopez, director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. “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.”