The rules laid out in federal court were clear: Leonard Glenn Francis, the Malaysian defense contractor who admitted bribing dozens of Navy officers as part of a $35 million fraud scheme, would remain in home confinement under tight, 24-7 security while he provided evidence against corrupt Navy personnel. Only approved visitors could enter the home. An ankle monitor would alert authorities should he somehow slip away.
"He's not going anywhere," one of his defense attorneys, Devin Burstein, assured the judge in 2020.
But the criminal mastermind known as "Fat Leonard" because of his 6-2, 350-pound frame eventually did go somewhere, cutting off his ankle monitor this past Labor Day weekend and fleeing the San Diego mansion where he had been living with private security staff that he paid for under a court-approved deal meant to prevent his escape.
He was captured after 16 days on the run, caught Tuesday at an airport in Venezuela from which he was headed to Russia after earlier stops in Mexico and Cuba, according to Interpol. Interpol's Venezuela director general, Carlos Gárate Rondón, said the 57-year-old Francis would be handed over to judicial authorities to begin the paperwork for extradition.
This story has been going on for over a decade and we are nearing the end. The details are really something else. You absolutely won't believe some of the things Fat Leonard has at his house, how he got away for a few weeks despite being "monitored" constantly, and what his hired help has said about him. Listen here. It's a story that could shape the future of the Navy.