A retired Navy captain has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for taking “lavish bribes” from the Malaysian defense contractor “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis, who plied the officer with sex workers, travel and luxury hotel stays, federal officials announced.
In addition to jail time, retired Capt. Jesus Vasquez Cantu, 64, will also have to pay a $75,000 criminal fine and $100,000 in restitution to the Navy as part of his Feb. 23 sentence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.
“Mr. Cantu entered a den of corruption and in the process repudiated his oath and betrayed the sacred trust placed in him by the American people,” U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said in a statement.
According to the release announcing Cantu’s sentencing, the retired captain acknowledged in his plea agreement that Francis wined and dined him in fancy restaurants, karaoke bars and night clubs, and footed the bill for his lavish hotel rooms and “the services of prostitutes” on several occasions in 2012 and 2013.
Cantu pleaded to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in 2017.
At the time of his crimes, Cantu was the deputy commander for Military Sealift Command Far East in Singapore, where he oversaw ship supply and logistics for the Japan-based U.S. 7th Fleet, according to the sentencing release.
In return for Fat Leonard’s luxuries, Cantu admitted that he provided “proprietary U.S. Navy information” to Francis, and that he used his authority and influence to help Francis and his ship husbanding company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
Cantu also admitted in his plea agreement that, while serving as 7th Fleet’s assistant chief of staff for logistics in 2007, he and others accepted “an ongoing stream of bribes” from Francis, and that Cantu acted in violation of his official duties in exchange for the largesse.
The attorney listed as representing Cantu in court records did not respond to a request for comment this week.
More than 30 people have been convicted or pleaded guilty in the sweeping corruption case. Francis, who also pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2015, was awaiting sentencing when he fled home confinement in San Diego last year and is now in custody in Venezuela, where he has requested asylum.
To date, U.S. authorities have yet to explain precisely how Francis escaped, or if he will ever be extradited back to the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.