‘Fat Leonard’ captured: Mastermind behind Navy corruption scandal caught in Venezuela after weeks on the run

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An American fugitive named Leonard Francis, also known as “Fat Leonard,” was arrested in Venezuela on Tuesday — after more than two weeks on the run. He was caught trying to board a plane bound for another country, authorities said on Wednesday.

Francis was held under house arrest in San Diego pending sentencing later this month, but is said to have cut his ankle ligament on Sept. 4 and fled.

He did not respond to messages and knocked on his door from federal officers who noticed that his monitor had gone offline. His house was found empty after the police carried out a welfare check that afternoon.

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“He intended this, that’s for sure,” US Marshal Omar Castillo told the San Diego Union-Tribune at the time, adding neighbors said they’d seen a U-Haul loading in the weeks leading up to his escape.

‘FAT LEONARD’ CUTS ANKLE MONITOR WEEKS BEFORE CONDUMING IN $35 MILLION US MARINE CORRUPTION SCANDAL

‘Fat Leonard’ was captured Tuesday after weeks on the run in Venezuela, authorities said.
(U.S. Marshal Service)

The former US Navy contractor pleaded guilty in 2015 to orchestrating $500,000 in bribes along with prostitution services, luxury hotels, cigars and gourmet meals to Navy officials in exchange for classified information that would help his Malaysian shipping company.

He overcharged the military at least $35 million.

The US Marshals had offered a $40,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

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Francis was imprisoned by Venezuelan authorities advised by Interpol that he was a wanted man. He remains in Venezuela pending extradition to the US

He cooperated with the prosecution during his house arrest, leading to the convictions of 33 of the 34 defendants, including more than two dozen naval officers.

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The US Marshals Service and the Department of Justice Southern District of California did not immediately respond to TBEN News Digital’s requests for comment.

The The Bharat Express News contributed to this report.

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