A defense contractor known as “Fat Leonard” who admitted to bribing Navy officials with prostitutes, fancy meals, high-end hotel rooms and more escaped house arrest on Sunday after cutting off his GPS monitoring bracelet. A multi-agency manhunt is underway, officials said.
The U.S. Marshals Service wrote in a now-deleted tweet that Leonard Glenn Francis “cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet on Sunday morning” in San Diego, Calif., according to the Washington Post.
“Task Force Officers went to his residence and upon arrival noticed the house was now vacant,” the tweet added.
The U.S. Marshals Service San Diego tweeted that Francis is wanted for “violating the conditions of his pretrial release.”
“Any information please contact the U.S. Marshals Service San Diego Office at (619) 557-6620 or go to http://usmarshals.gov to submit a tip,” the tweet added.
The San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force and Naval Criminal Investigative Service are still searching for Fat Leonard as of Tuesday morning.
Supervisory Deputy Omar Castillo with the U.S. Marshal’s district in Southern California told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Francis “was planning this out, that’s for sure.”
Castillo said law enforcement agencies are aware of Francis’ escape. International borders and airports will also have alerts, although it is possible that he already crossed the border into Mexico, Castillo added.
In July, a San Diego federal jury convicted four out of five former Navy officers for conspiracy, bribery and fraud in connection with the “Fat Leonard” scheme.
Francis previously admitted to defrauding the U.S. Navy out of at least $35 million.
“Obviously it’s very disappointing,” said San Diego attorney Michael Crowley, who defended one of the former Navy officers linked to the scandal. “He started all this and we wanted him to testify since this was the crux of the government’s case. Here, they’ve let him slip right through their fingers.”