Military contractor who served as architect behind “Fat Leonard” Navy scandal caught in VenezuelaEarlier this month, the US Marshals Service confirmed to CBS News on Wednesday night.
Leonard Francis, who goes by the nickname “Fat Leonard,” was detained on an Interpol red notice at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas while boarding a flight to Cuba, the U.S. Marshals Service told CBS News.
Leonard was under house arrest in San Diego and away from sentencing, when hein early September and escaped.
U.S. Marshals believed Leonard fled to southern Mexico after cutting off his monitoring bracelet.
Francis was first arrested in San Diego in 2013 and pleaded guilty in 2015 to paying $500,000 in bribes to Navy officers. In return, officers gave him classified information and even went so far as to redirect military ships to ports that were profitable for his Singapore-based shipping company. Francis, according to prosecutors, overcharged the U.S. military by $35 million for his company’s services.
According to, Francis identified seven Navy officials who accepted bribes and admitted paying the officials hundreds of thousands in cash, as well as luxury goods worth millions. He provided them with prostitutes and Cuban cigars, luxury travel, Spanish suckling pigs and Kobe beef. Officials found spa treatments, top-shelf alcohol, designer handbags, leather goods, designer furniture, watches, fountain pens, decorative swords and handmade ship models, according to court documents.
More than 30 Navy officers and contractors have either been convicted or indicted on charges related to Francis’ service.
Sometimes weighing more than 400 pounds, Francis was colloquially called “Fat Leonard.”
Francis has been under house arrest since at least 2018 and oversees a federal agency, Pretrial Services, which monitors defendants who are out of prison until they are sentenced. Before he disappeared, he was scheduled to be sentenced in late September and face up to 25 years in prison.