‘Fat Leonard’, contractor in the worst US Navy corruption scandal, escapes house arrest | American News

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A Malaysian businessman who pleaded guilty in the worst US Navy corruption scandal has escaped house arrest in San Diego after cutting off his surveillance bracelet, federal authorities have said.

Leonard Glenn Francis, known as Fat Leonard, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to offering $500,000 in bribes to naval officers, was due to be sentenced within weeks.

Supervisory deputy U.S. Marshal Omar Castillo said Francis fled his home on Sunday morning, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Officers who arrived at the property found it empty but discovered parts of its broken GPS tracking bracelet.

Francis, who ran a military contracting business in Singapore, is accused of offering the services of sex workers, as well as lavish meals that cost thousands of dollars to gain insider information and influence. Prosecutors say the naval officers received luxury gifts such as wine, Cuban cigars and cash.

They, in turn, leaked classified information and redirected military vessels to ports where his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, could charge bogus tariffs and fees.

Francis and his company, which supplied Navy ships in the Pacific with food, fuel and water, are accused of overcharging the Navy by nearly $35 million.

Prosecutors say officers involved in the scam called themselves the Lion’s King Harem, Brotherhood, Wolfpack as they sought to recruit others to the scam.

Francis was arrested in a San Diego hotel room during a sting in 2013 and pleaded guilty two years later. He has had various health issues, including kidney cancer, and has been held in a private residence since 2018.

He had acted as a cooperating witness for a federal prosecutor but was due to be sentenced on September 22.

Four naval officers have been convicted in connection with the scandal. Another 29 people, including Navy officials, contractors and Francis, have pleaded guilty, US media said.

Neighbors told authorities they saw U-Haul moving trucks outside the property Francis was being held in the days leading up to his escape, Castillo said, according to the San Diego Union report. -Grandstand. “He was planning this for sure,” Castillo added.

Castillo said law enforcement would be notified.

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