November 28, 2022

A military contractor who worked as an engineer has been arrested in the “Fat Leonard” naval scandal in Venezuela After he went on the lam Earlier this month, US Marshals confirmed to CBS News on Wednesday night.

The US Marshall Service reported to CBS News that Leonard Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” was arrested under an Interpol red notice at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas while boarding a flight to Cuba.

Leonard was under house arrest in San Diego, and was days away from being sentenced cut ankle bracelet In early September they fled.

American marshals believed Leonard had fled south to Mexico after his watch bracelet had been cut.

Francis was first arrested in San Diego in 2013 and pleaded guilty in 2015 to offering $500,000 in bribes to Navy officers. In return, officers passed him classified information and even went so far as to redirect military ships to ports that were profitable for his Singapore-based ship service company. According to prosecutors, Francis overcharged the US military by $35 million for his company’s services.

as 2015 plea agreementFrancis identified seven Navy officials who accepted bribes and admitted to paying officials hundreds of thousands in cash, as well as luxury goods worth millions. He supplied them with prostitutes, Cuban cigars, luxury travel, Spanish pigs, and Cuban beef. Officials received spa treatments, luxury alcohol, handbags, leather goods, designer furniture, watches, fountain pens, decorative swords and handmade ship models, according to court documents.

More than 30 Navy officers and contractors have either been convicted or pleaded guilty to charges related to Francis’ services.

Sometimes weighing more than 400 pounds, Francis was known colloquially as “Fat Leonard”.

Francis has been under house arrest since at least 2018 and under the supervision of a federal agency, Pre-Trial Services, which monitors defendants out of custody until sentencing. Before his disappearance, he was due to be sentenced at the end of September, facing up to 25 years behind bars.

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