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GDMA - Fat Leonard

Over the last several years I have consulted with, represented, or am representing various officers in the grades from O-5 to O-9, about their alleged involvement with Fat Leonard and GDMA--a total of 18 such cases now. The level of alleged involvement runs the gamut from token gifts, a lavish dinner, to prostitutes; and collateral consequences such as retirement grade or a security clearance concerns.

For privacy reasons, I’m not discussing the specifics of the individual cases. The point here is to alert you that I have experience and understanding of the GDMA cases. Some of the areas of concern for those not being prosecuted by DoJ include:

  • Gifts, especially ones coming across the quarterdeck before the brow is raised for an underway.
  • Hotels.
  • Meals.
  • Dinners.
  • Prostitutes (often referred to as "hostesses").
  • BZ's upon departing the port visit. This is an odd one because it's not uncommon for the CO/Flag to give some BZ's to husbanding agents or local officials for helping to make a safe, pleasant, and productive port visit.

Did you get a call from NCIS wanting to talk with you about your time in the Navy? That sometimes happens for these cases. They will advise you of your rights and ask if you will talk to them. Sometimes I go to these meetings, sometimes not. Usually, they will have "evidence" to present to you: photographs, hotel receipts, emails, etc. Fat Leonard was a pack-rat and has terabytes of information now in the possession of DoJ and NCIS.

Did you get a letter out of the blue from Fleet Forces Command, subject Request for Information? (Note this letter will often follow the NCIS interview noted above.) If so, and I'm your lawyer the first two steps are to get a short delay in the response time and get access to the file of relevant material (FORM) that the admiral has for consideration about what to do with yoursituation. Getting a look at the FORM is vital before making any statements to officials.

What will happen? So far, most of the CDA cases have been resolved in three ways: no further action, NPLOC, Secretarial Letter.

Who will know? A common question. My sense and experience are that the Navy is being good at protecting privacy so far. Certainly, some of the FOIA requests I've seen have a lot of redacted (blacked out) information to protect privacy.

You can get a general overview by reading articles from Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post.

Should you wish to discuss your case, please be sure to let me know the following:

  1. Rank at the time of the allegations.
  2. Unit assigned to.
  3. Position within that unit.
  4. Dates assigned to that unit.

I use this information to make sure I don’t have a conflict with a past or current client.

As of 2021 it appears that all or most of these cases have worked their way through the system of the Consolidated Dispostion Authority appointed to review and take (or recommend) appropriate action. Several cases are still in the federal district court, San Diego, where several higher ranking officers are being prosecuted for various federal crimes. 

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