Fugitive ‘Fat Leonard’ caught in Venezuela
Written by Alex Stone and Luke Barr ABC News on September 22, 2022
(CARACAS, VENEZUELA) — The military contractor known as ‘Fat Leonard’ – real name Leonard Francis — has been caught, the U.S. Marshals Service told ABC News late Wednesday night.
He was found after an Interpol notice went out and was found in Caracas, Venezuela, while trying to board a flight.
The arrest was made by Venezuelan authorities based on a “Red Notice” from Interpol. The arrest was made on Tuesday but is just now becoming known.
“A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action,” according to the Interpol website.
Leonard was set to be sentenced on Sept. 22 after being found guilty in 2015 for bribing Navy officials with lavish gifts, prostitutes and cash. Authorities say he cut off his ankle monitor last week and had not been seen since.
In one instance, according to the Justice Department, Francis was able to have a ship moved to a port he owned in Malaysia.
To date it remains one of the biggest naval scandals in United States history.
On Sept. 6, 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.
Since 2013, there have been more than 30 U.S. Navy 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 over-billed government contracts and bribed naval officials.
The Marshals were offering a $40,000 reward for any information leading to Leonard’s arrest.
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.