'Fat Leonard,' who pleaded guilty in a major US Navy corruption scandal, cut off his ankle bracelet and is now on the run, feds say

This wanted poster provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows Leonard Francis, also known as "Fat Leonard," who was on home confinement, and allegedly cut off his GPS ankle monitor and left his home on the morning of Sept. 4, 2022.
This wanted poster provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows Leonard Francis, also known as "Fat Leonard," who was on home confinement, and allegedly cut off his GPS ankle monitor and left his home on the morning of Sept. 4, 2022.U.S. Marshals Service via AP
  • A former military contractor involved in a US Navy corruption scandal fled house arrest.

  • Leonard Glenn Francis was awaiting sentencing when he cut his ankle bracelet, a US Marshal said.

  • The Malaysian national known as "Fat Leonard" pleaded guilty in 2015 to conspiracy to commit bribery.

A former military contractor who pleaded guilty in one of the US Navy's worst corruption scandals has fled house arrest while waiting to be sentenced, officials said.

Leonard Glenn Francis, also known as "Fat Leonard," cut off his GPS monitoring ankle bracelet and left his San Diego home at some point Sunday morning, Supervisory Deputy US Marshal Omar Castillo told the San Diego Union-Tribune, which first reported the news.

The US Marshals Service San Diego confirmed in a Tuesday statement and wanted poster that the San Diego Fugitive Task Force is searching for Francis.

"As of now, Leonard Francis is wanted for violating the conditions of his pretrial release," US Marshals Service San Diego tweeted early Tuesday morning. A slew of federal law enforcement agencies — including the Marshals — are searching for him.

After Francis removed his tracking device, a federal agency monitoring Francis noticed and alerted law enforcement officials, Deputy US Marshal Antonio Kirby told Insider. In response, the agency went to his home and found nothing there except for the tracking device.

The Union-Tribune reported that neighbors had said they noticed moving trucks at Francis' home.

"We are under the impression that this was pre-planned — neighbors did inform the Marshals Service that they did see U-Hauls coming and going over time," Kirby said. "We are following all leads as they come in."

The California Southern Pretrial Services — the agency monitoring Francis — could be immediately reached by Insider for comment. The US Attorney's office also did not respond to a request for comment.

An attorney representing Francis declined to comment on the matter.

Francis, a Malaysian national, was three weeks away from being sentenced for his role in a sprawling corruption scandal involving dozens of people, including many US Navy officers, when he fled. His Singapore-based contracting firm, Glen Defense Marine Asia, serviced Navy ships in ports across Southeast Asia, the Union-Tribune reported.

Prosecutors say Francis tried to bribe Navy officials with hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for classified information and work opportunities for his firm, NBC reported, and that he overcharged the Navy by over $35 million for services.

Francis was arrested in 2013 and pleaded guilty two years later for conspiring to commit bribery, according to court documents reviewed by Insider.

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