‘Fat Leonard’ on the run days before sentencing: US Marshals

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(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) — A former naval contractor who was convicted of bribing Navy officers with millions of dollars worth of lavish cigars, prostitutes and cash allegedly cut off his ankle monitor on Sunday and is now on the run, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Leonard Francis, also known as “Fat Leonard,” was awaiting sentencing on Sept. 22 after being found guilty in 2015 of bribing officers with gifts and millions in cash, in exchange for information about the movements of naval ships. In one instance, according to the Justice Department, Francis was able to have a ship moved to a port he owned in Malaysia.

On Sunday, U.S. Marshals showed up at Francis’ home after being alerted that his GPS ankle monitor was being tampered with, according to a press release from the agency.

“Members of the San Diego Fugitive Task Force went to Francis’ residence, in an attempt to locate him,” the Marshals said. “After announcing themselves, task force officers made entry into the residence through an unlocked door. After a thorough check of the residence, officers were unable to locate Francis. Officers were able to locate the GPS ankle monitor that had been cut off.”

“His current whereabouts are unknown,” the agency added.

Since 2013, there have been more than 30 naval officers charged in connection with his case. A judge ruled that Francis had to forfeit the $35 million he was convicted of defrauding the U.S. government by when he overbilled government contracts and bribed naval officials.

“In his plea agreement, Francis conceded that over the course of the conspiracy, he and [his contracting company] gave public officials millions of dollars in things of value, including over $500,000 in cash; hundreds of thousands of dollars in the services of prostitutes and associated expenses; hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses, including airfare, often first or business class, luxurious hotel stays, incidentals and spa treatments; hundreds of thousands of dollars in lavish meals, top-shelf alcohol and wine and entertainment; and hundreds of thousands of dollars in luxury gifts, including designer handbags and leather goods, watches, fountain pens, fine wine, champagne, Scotch, designer furniture, consumer electronics, ornamental swords and hand-made ship models,” according to a Justice Department release.

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