Over two decades, Robert Gilbeau rose through the ranks to navy admiral and earned a chest full of honours for his service, including a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. One of our most respected leaders chose karaoke over character Alana Robinson, US attorney During that time he partied across Southeast Asia with a Malaysian businessman who paid for lavish dinners, drinks at karaoke bars and prostitutes. That businessman, known as “Fat Leonard”, is the centrepiece of a massive bribery scandal involving navy officers and Gilbeau last year pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about their ties. He was the first active duty admiral convicted of a federal crime and was given 18 months in prison. Acting US Attorney Alana Robinson called it a “sombre day”. “When tempted by parties and prostitutes, one of our most respected leaders chose karaoke over character and cover-up over confession,” she said. “In doing so he forever tarnished the reputation of a revered institution.” Gilbeau acknowledged his wrongdoing in federal court in San Diego. He told the judge he is “deeply sorry” and cannot explain his actions. He stood in court with his fluffy white dog, which accompanies him as part of his treatment for post-traumatic stress. Gilbeau’s defence argued that his PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from a blast in Iraq should be taken into account, though prosecutors said he was exaggerating his condition because he knew he was going to get caught. “I never wanted to end my career this way,” said the 56-year-old navy veteran, who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in Iraq in 2007. “I’m still proud of my career and to be an American.” Gilbeau wrote in a letter to the judge that “I have no one to blame but myself.” He wrote that while his PTSD is not an excuse, it gave him a desire to “make self-destructive decisions”. Gilbeau was convicted in June after admitting that he lied when he told federal agents that he had never received any gifts from Leonard Glenn Francis. The navy allowed him to retire in October but reduced his rank from rear admiral to captain. Nicknamed “Fat Leonard” because of his wide girth, Francis has admitted to bribing navy officials with more than US$500,000 in cash, prostitutes, and other gifts in exchange for classified information to help his company, Glenn Defence Marine Asia. He is awaiting sentencing. Francis and his company that supplies food and fuel to ships overbilled the navy by more than US$34 million, prosecutors said. Gilbeau first met Francis in 1997 during a port visit to Bali, Indonesia, where Francis wooed Gilbeau and another US Navy officer with hotel rooms, dinners and the services of prostitutes, according to investigators. For years, Francis footed the bill for Gilbeau’s late-night partying at nightclubs and karaoke bars, fine dining, luxury hotels and paid sex in Asian countries. In exchange, Gilbeau signed off on Francis’ company invoices that grossly overbilled the navy, prosecutors said. In one instance, Gilbeau signed an invoice for the USS Nimitz that was the highest amount the Navy ever paid in the ship’s history for wastewater removal. Prosecutors said evidence suggests the company kicked back US$40,000 in cash to Gilbeau. Gilbeau has denied taking cash. US District Judge Janis Sammartino said Gilbeau carried out “a systematic destruction of records”, after Francis was arrested in 2013 to conceal his involvement. “You violated the law,” she said. “You dishonoured your shipmates, the navy and the United States of America.” Twenty current and former Navy officials have been charged so far and 10 have pleaded guilty. Five Glenn Defence Marine Asia executives and the corporation have also pleaded guilty.