‘Fat Leonard’ escapes weeks before sentencing in Navy bribery scandal


The Malaysian protection contractor who pleaded responsible to bribing navy officers with intercourse events, fancy dinners and booze in an enormous bribery scandal escaped simply weeks earlier than the date of his conviction.

Leonard Glenn Francis, also called “Fats Leonard” for his eclipse, fled on Sunday whereas underneath home arrest in San Diego, the place he was awaiting a September 22 court docket listening to. A multi-agency search by the San Diego Regional Fugitive Job Power and the Navy Felony Investigative Service is underway, officers stated.

“He reduce off his GPS monitoring bracelet on Sunday morning,” the US Marshals Service stated. announcement late Monday. “Officers from the duty power went to his residence and upon arrival seen that the home was now vacant.”

A couple of days earlier than his disappearance, neighbors recalled seeing shifting vans to Francis’s residence, Deputy Supervisor Omar Castillo of the U.S. Marshals District in Southern California advised the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“He was planning this for positive,” Castillo advised the newspaper, which was first to report Francis’ escape.

Leaks, Feasts and Intercourse Events: How ‘Fats Leonard’ Infiltrated the Navy’s Floating Headquarters in Asia

Devin Burstein, Francis’ legal professional, stated in an e-mail to The Washington Submit that he had “no remark presently.”

Francis pleaded responsible in 2015 to providing Navy officers $500,000 in money bribes within the service’s largest corruption scandal. Prosecutors say it was all a part of an effort to defraud the army department of some $35 million.

Francis’ Singapore-based firm, Glenn Protection Marine Asia, supplied gadgets and providers wanted by Navy submarines and ships in port, reminiscent of meals, water, waste elimination and gas. However investigators alleged that Francis’ firm overcharged for his providers and falsified some invoices.

The seventh Fleet is reeling from a collection of lethal ship strikes and one of many worst corruption scandals in Navy historical past. (Video: Jason Aldag, Dan Lamothe/The Washington Submit)

He bribed navy personnel within the Asia-Pacific area in trade for labeled info on ship actions to win extra army contracts. Francis supplied roughly $1 million in Cuban cigars; luxurious gadgets; meals at Michelin-starred eating places; and a celebration with what prosecutors described as a “rotating carousel of prostitutes,” a Submit investigation discovered. Different gadgets included tickets to a Girl Gaga live performance and a Gucci vogue present, in line with court docket paperwork.

The Navy prohibits personnel from accepting items over $20. There’s a $50 annual restrict on accepting items from a single supply. However a whole bunch of lively responsibility and retired personnel – together with some 60 admirals – had been underneath scrutiny for probably violating army legal guidelines or ethics guidelines as a part of the investigation, The Submit reported. . Most had been later cleared.

Greater than 30 folks—together with Navy officers, enlisted sailors, contractors, and Francis workers—have been convicted or pleaded responsible to collaborating within the conspiracy.

Prostitutes, Holidays and Cash: ‘Fats Leonard’ Navy Officers Stalled

The dimensions of the scandal has baffled civilians and army because it got here to mild in 2013, and lots of are questioning: how did the fleet succumb so simply to the temptations of Francis?

“That is what this case is actually about, it is how simply the souls of the navy have been bought, the distinction of the navy has been bought for prostitutes, for lavish dinners , for cash on the expense of American pursuits,” Rachel VanLandingham, a former Air Power officer and army authorized professional, advised NPR. in June.

In a nine-part podcast in regards to the scandal, Francis advised Tom Wright, “I am not army, I am only a civilian, I am not an American citizen, and all these senior naval officers would simply reply me, “Do that, and they’re going to transfer the ships for me.

Nevertheless, its attain collapsed in 2013, when federal brokers staged an undercover operation at a San Diego lodge. Since pleading responsible in 2015, Francis has labored as a cooperating witness for federal prosecutors in prosecutions towards others concerned within the conspiracy – and has shared proof, together with data from Glenn’s laptop servers. Protection Marine Asia.

The person who seduced the seventh Fleet

Following well being issues — together with kidney most cancers, swollen knees and a hernia, in line with court docket data — Francis was launched from federal custody in 2018 and positioned underneath home arrest. His house is watched by a safety entourage that he pays.

However that association was one which prosecutors battled in 2013 and 2015 – arguing he may attempt to flee to the Mexican border, The Submit reported.

This is among the situations authorities face almost a decade later.

Castillo advised the Union-Tribune that borders and worldwide airports are on excessive alert, however Francis may already be on the opposite aspect of the Rio Grande.

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