- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2022

A defense contractor who plied Navy officers with cash and prostitutes in exchange for classified information disappeared from house arrest only weeks before he was scheduled for sentencing in federal court, officials said.

Leonard Glenn Francis, known as “Fat Leonard,” cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet Sunday morning. According to the U.S. Marshals Service, officers from the San Diego Fugitive Task Force then went to his home and discovered it was vacant.

In 2015, Francis pleaded guilty to offering $500,000 in bribes to several Navy officers who directed aircraft carriers to ports he controlled so they could be resupplied by his Singapore-based ship servicing company. He admitted overcharging the U.S. military by more than $35 million.

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against more than 30 people in connection with the scandal. More than a dozen Navy officials, including commissioned officers and at least one special agent with the Navy Criminal Investigative Service, pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

Francis has been under house arrest since 2018, reportedly for health reasons. Several U-Haul trucks had been seen at the house for a week just before his disappearance. Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service said it appeared that Francis had been planning his escape “for some time.”

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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