“Fat Leonard” Cuts Ankle Monitor Ahead Of Sentencing In $35 Million Navy Corruption Scandal
U.S. military contractor Leonard “Fat Leonard” Francis cut his ankle monitor Sunday and fled just weeks before he was scheduled to be sentenced in a $35 million U.S. Navy bribery scandal.
Francis has been under house arrest in San Diego since pleading guilty to charges of bribing U.S. Navy officials in 2015. Federal officials were notified when Francis’ monitor went offline Sunday morning and sent security to check on him.
When Francis failed to respond, police were called to conduct a welfare check at around 2 p.m. Sunday. Officers found the home completely empty except for the cut ankle monitor.
Neighbors told police they had seen U-Haul trucks being loaded in front of the home in the weeks prior to Francis’ disappearance, U.S. Marshal Omar Castillo said.
“He was planning this out, that’s for sure,” Castillo said.
A manhunt is underway for Francis but Castillo said he may have already crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in Southern California.
Francis, a Malaysian national, ran the Glenn Defense Marine Asia military contractor out of Singapore. The company serviced U.S. Navy vessels docked in ports throughout the region. He pleaded guilty to bribing U.S. Navy officials to dock ships in ports he controlled, a scheme that lost the Navy at least $35 million in overcharges.
Francis bribed the officials with cash, luxury trips, and prostitutes.
It was the largest corruption scandal in U.S. Navy history, leading to charges against 34 people, including Francis, his company, a U.S. Navy rear admiral, and other high-level Navy officials.