Former Navy captain pleads guilty to taking nearly $68,000 in bribes

A former Navy captain pleaded guilty on Wednesday to accepting nearly $68,000 in bribes from a foreign defense contractor to benefit his ship husbanding company.

Donald Hornbeck, 61, admitted to receiving at least $67,830 in bribes in the form of extravagant dinners, hotels, parties and prostitutes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Francis, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office.

In exchange for the bribes, Hornbeck said he tried to send Navy ships to ports that were serviced by Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a Singapore-based ship husbanding company owned and run by Francis.

Hornbeck also admitted to sharing confidential Navy information with Francis to help his company and indoctrinating new members of the Navy to assist Francis.

"While scores of Navy officials were partying with Leonard Francis, a massive breach of national security was in full swing," U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement.

"Today another participant has admitted that he lost his way, allowing greed to replace honor and duty as the driving force in his life. This is a day of reckoning for a captain who traded his honor and integrity for material pleasures," he added.

Hornbeck pleaded guilty to bribery of a public official, which comes with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing is scheduled for September.

Eight other members of the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet were indicted by a federal grand jury in March 2017 on allegations of plotting with Francis and accepting bribes, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Hornbeck is the fourth of that group of defendants to plead guilty.

In all, thirty-four U.S. Navy officials and defense contractors have been the target of federal criminal charges in connection to the so-called Fat Leonard scandal, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Glenn Defense Marine Asia has also been charged.

Twenty-nine defendants have pleaded guilty thus far - admitting to accepting millions of dollars in various bribes from Francis in exchange for helping his company "win and maintain contracts and overbill the Navy by over $35 million," according to the U.S. attorney's office.