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‘Living like a king’: Navy officer who demanded bribes from ‘Fat Leonard’ gets prison

Brooks Alonzo Parks, a naval logistics officer serving in the western Pacific, sentenced in a San Diego federal courtroom on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, receiving a 27-month term for his role in the "Fat Leonard" scandal. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Brooks Alonzo Parks, a naval logistics officer serving in the western Pacific, was often quite specific about what he thought he deserved in exchange for the insider information he was leaking to military contractor Leonard Francis.

One time, it was a case of Hennessy Pure White cognac.

Another, it was a $4,000-a-night room at the Ritz-Carlton in Singapore.

“It feels good living like a KING on an E-6’s salary!!!” Parks wrote in one email to Francis’ company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, referring to his military pay grade.

Parks admitted back in 2007 that he’d been bitten by the GDMA “bug” by joining Francis’ deep network of naval officers who leaked proprietary information to give his company a competitive advantage in exchange for bribes. On Friday, he followed the same path of many in that network by being sentenced in a San Diego federal courtroom to prison.

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U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino, who has overseen the massive court case involving Francis, handed down a 27-month term. Parks was also ordered to pay just over $24,000 in restitution, a figure corresponding to the value of the bribes.

As a logistics lead petty officer in the 7th Fleet, Parks was in a prime position to offer Francis intelligence on ship itineraries, competitors and pricing to boost his company, which provides port services for visiting Navy ships. The relationship with Francis — nicknamed “Fat Leonard” for his girth — lasted from 2006 to 2010, according to Parks’ plea agreement.

Much of the quid pro quo is documented in emails between Parks and GDMA.

For instance, in 2009 Parks asked a GDMA employee for a “major hook up” — specifically a five-star suite at the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore “because I have a very special lady meeting me there!!! … I need the suite to be especially nice. Let me know if you and the Boss need anything!!!”

Parks, 48, who lives in Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in June.

“Parks traded on his important position of trust, selling his loyalty to a foreign defense contractor,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said in a statement.

Parks is among 34 defendants — most of them Navy officials — who have been charged in the U.S. in the case. Twenty-three have pleaded guilty. Francis, who has cooperated with the investigation, has not yet been sentenced since pleading guilty.

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(c) 2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.