“Fat Leonard”, who defrauded the US Navy out of millions, was caught trying to fly to Russia

Leonard Glenn Francis, a 57-year-old Malaysian businessman, has a particularly curious story. Francis, known by the nickname “Fat Leonard”, is the man at the center of the largest fraud scandal in the history of the US Navy.

He made headlines again after he escaped from his home in San Diego, California on September 4, where he had been under house arrest for several years. Before leaving home, he dislodged the tracking device on his ankle.

However, the direction of his escape eventually became clear – Fat Leonard was re-detained at an airport in Venezuela on September 21 while trying to board a plane to Russia.

According to Interpol, he entered Venezuela through Cuba. He is now due to be extradited back to the US, where a verdict on his crimes is expected to become clear in a few weeks.

But what exactly are they?

Francis is at the heart of a turn-of-the-century extortion scheme that operates through his Singapore-based company serving the US Navy’s (Navy) Pacific Fleet.

According to prosecutors, he made $35 million providing overpriced services to the Navy. To achieve this, he gave Navy officers money in cash, expensive meals and alcohol, cigars and provided them with sex parties with prostitutes in luxury hotels.

Fat Leonard was arrested back in 2013. Two years later, he admitted to offering bribes worth $500,000 to naval officers.

In exchange for the bribes, Francis received secret information about the movements of American ships and submarines, secret information about contracts and information about active investigations directed against his company.

Then, according to the indictment, he used the information and connection with his “moles” to divert aircraft carriers, ships and submarines to ports he controlled so he could charge them more money for fuel, food, water and cleanup of the collected waste.

In the case, 33 people have already been found guilty, including Francis himself and four officers from the US Navy.

In recent years, Fat Leonard has been left to live under house arrest in the American city of San Diego, due to health problems, including kidney cancer.

Police became aware of his escape on September 4 when uniformed officers visited his home to investigate a report of problems with his tracking bracelet. Then they realize that Francis is not at home, and neighbors say that trucks have been coming to the house several times in recent weeks.

10 American services began a search, and a reward of 40 thousand dollars was announced for the arrest of the man. It was the airport authorities in Venezuela who detained Francis when he tried to fly to Russia.


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