Military contractor at heart of biggest US Navy scandal escapes house arrest

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Francis was due to be sentenced in three weeks, US media said. (Representational)

Washington:

A military contractor who pleaded guilty in the worst corruption scandal in US Navy history has escaped house arrest in San Diego, the US Marshals Service announced Monday.

“Leonard Francis cut off his GPS monitoring anklet on Sunday morning,” Deputy US Marshal Omar Castillo told AFP in a statement.

Known as “Fat Leonard”, Francis was due to be sentenced in three weeks, according to US media.

Francis, a Malaysian national who ran a military contracting company in Singapore, pleaded guilty in 2015 to offering some $500,000 in bribes to naval officers to direct official labor to his yards. naval officers, doing work on US ships for which prosecutors say he overcharged the Navy for , to the tune of $35 million.

Police were dispatched to his San Diego residence on Sunday after the agency monitoring his anklet reported a problem with the device, Castillo said.

“When they arrived, they noticed that there was no one home,” he said.

“They then informed the US Marshals who visited the house and verified that he was no longer there. At this time, several leads are being investigated.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the severed GPS bracelet was found in the house, while neighbors said they saw U-Haul moving trucks coming and going on the property in the days leading up to his escape.

Francis was arrested in 2013 and pleaded guilty two years later. He suffered from numerous health issues, including kidney cancer, which led to him being released on house arrest in 2018 while acting as a cooperating witness for federal prosecutors.

He was due to be sentenced on September 22.

So far, four navy officers have been found guilty in the case, while 29 others, including navy officials, contractors and Francis himself, have pleaded guilty, US media said. .

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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