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GUILTY: Navy Commander Busted For Hooker, Cash, Fancy Hotel Spying Scheme

On Tuesday, 42-year-old U.S. Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez plead guilty to a scheme involving a military contractor stationed in Asia regularly bribing officers with prostitutes and stays at luxury hotels– in exchange for confidential information.

Authorities took Sanchez into custody in November 2013, and as a result of entering in a guilty plea, Sanchez may face up to 20 years in prison, Business Insider reports. Full sentencing information will follow on March 27.

While the judge was lenient and agreed that Sanchez didn’t have to wear a GPS monitor, he instructed Sanchez not to leave Southern California. He also allowed Sanchez to post bond backed by assets from his mother and sister. During the hearing, Sanchez was asked to read parts of the 24-page plea agreement and state whether the descriptions of his criminal activity were accurate. Sanchez did not disagree with a single summary.

“We continue to unearth the full scope of this pernicious fraud and bribery scheme, and we will pursue the evidence, wherever it leads us,” said  Laura Duffy, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.

The plea agreement stated that between 2009 and 2013, Sanchez knowingly worked in a complex bribery ring and accepted bribes from military contractor and CEO Leonard Glenn Francis of Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. Francis paid for Sanchez’s stay at an expensive luxury hotel in Singapore, NBC reports. That amounts to $7,500 worth of hotel rooms. Other items used for bribery included prostitutes, entertainment, and $100,000 dollars in cash.

In exchange, Sanchez gave Francis, known as “Fat Leonard” in military circles, private information from internal emails that Francis then used to over-bill the Navy by at least $20 million dollars since 2009. Francis had served as a military contractor in Asia for 25 years, and was arrested in September 2013. He has pled not guilty, meaning that while prosecutors have nailed Sanchez, they still have more work ahead of them in order to bring down the bribery ring.

It’s unclear whether Sanchez is helping prosecutors finish the investigation of others implicated in the scheme, which has netted five guilty pleas so far.  The investigation is still ongoing.

“Commander Sanchez sold out his command and country for cash bribes, luxury hotel rooms, and the services of prostitutes,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said, the Associated Press reports. “After today’s guilty plea, instead of free stays at the Shangri-La hotel, Sanchez is facing many nights in federal prison.”

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