Military contractor behind ‘Fat Leonard’ Navy scandal arrested in VenezuelaEarlier this month, the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed to CBS News Wednesday night.
Leonard Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” was on an Interpol red notice at Caracas’ Simon Bolivar International Airport as he boarded a flight to Cuba, the U.S. Marshals Service told CBS News. order detention.
Leonard has been under house arrest in San Diego, days away from sentencing, when heEscaped in early September.
U.S. Marshals believe Leonard fled south to Mexico after cutting off his surveillance bracelet.
Francis was first arrested in San Diego in 2013 and pleaded guilty in 2015 to paying a $500,000 bribe to a Navy officer. In exchange, the officers passed classified information to him and even diverted the ship to a lucrative port for his ship services company in Singapore. According to prosecutors, Francis overcharged the U.S. military by $35 million for his company’s services.
according to, Francis identified seven Navy officials who took bribes and admitted paying officials with hundreds of thousands in cash and luxury goods worth millions of dollars. He supplied them with prostitutes and Cuban cigars, luxury travel, Spanish suckling pig and Kobe beef. Court documents show officials were given spa treatments, premium wine, designer handbags, leather goods, designer furniture, watches, pens, ornamental swords and handcrafted boat models.
More than 30 naval officers and contractors have been convicted or pleaded guilty to charges related to Francis’ service.
Francis sometimes weighed more than 400 pounds and was commonly known as “Fat Leonard.”
Francis has been under house arrest since at least 2018 and under the supervision of the federal agency Pre-Trial Services, which oversees defendants detained ahead of sentencing. Before his disappearance, he was due to be sentenced at the end of September and face up to 25 years in prison.