Another Navy Officer Pleads Guilty in Hooker-for-Info Bribery Scandal

PHOTO: The amphibious assault ship USS Essex LHD 2 transits through the Pacific Ocean, 2012.Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Raul Moreno Jr./Getty Images
Prosecutors say then-Lt. Gentry Debord served aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Essex.

The clever code they used -- referring to prostitutes as "cheesecake" -- was not enough to save him.

U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Gentry Debord, 41, pleaded guilty on Thursday to bribery charges related to his illicit work for Leonard Francis, known as Fat Leonard, in the most widespread corruption scandal in U.S. military history.

Francis, who was the head of the private contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), was in the business of providing large U.S. Navy ships in-port husbandry services like refueling, waste disposal and laundry at ports throughout southeast Asia.

In his guilty plea, Debord admitted to providing Francis with confidential ship information and advice on how to best scam the Navy during those visits, in exchange for luxury travel, cash and prostitutes, according to the Department of Justice.

Francis, who was arrested in 2013 and pleaded guilty two years later, told investigators that "scores" of Navy officers were involved in his operation to bilk the Navy out of tens of millions of dollars. Already more than a dozen officers, up to the rank of vice admiral, have been disciplined, have been charged with criminal offenses or have pleaded guilty.

Today another alleged key member of the plot, former NCIS agent John Beliveau, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Beliveau fed Francis "scores" of internal NCIS reports on the investigations into GDMA and coached Francis on how to respond to investigators' questions.

Beliveau pleaded guilty to bribery charges almost three years ago and court records indicate he has been cooperating with investigators.

Beliveau's attorneys filed a memo last week ahead of sentencing, painting their client as a pitiful wreck -- a lonely, sad, weak man who was preyed upon by Francis. They're argued that Beliveau should be sentenced to a year of home confinement.

Prosecutors, outraged at that suggestion, had filed their own memo asking for 15 years in prison for Beliveau for what they called a crime of "unprecedented nature and extraordinary aggravated circumstances."