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‘Fat Leonard’ captured: Navy corruption scandal mastermind nabbed in Venezuela after weeks on the run

A U.S. fugitive named Leonard Francis, also known as “Fat Leonard,” was captured in Venezuela on Tuesday – after more than two weeks on the run. He was nabbed while trying to board a plane to another country, authorities said Wednesday. 

Francis was being held on house arrest in San Diego, awaiting his sentencing later this month, but he allegedly cut his ankle bracelet on Sept. 4 and fled. 

He failed to respond to messages and knocks at his door from federal officers who noticed his monitor had gone offline. His home was found empty after police conducted a welfare check that afternoon. 

“He was planning this out, that’s for sure,” U.S. Marshal Omar Castillo told the San Diego Union-Tribune at the time, adding that neighbors said they saw a U-Haul being loaded up in the weeks prior to his escape. 

‘FAT LEONARD’ CUTS ANKLE MONITOR WEEKS BEFORE SENTENCING IN $35 MILLION US NAVY CORRUPTION SCANDAL

The former U.S. Navy contractor pleaded guilty in 2015 to orchestrating $500,000 in bribes along with prostitution services, luxury hotels, cigars and gourmet meals to Navy officials in exchange for classified information that would help his Malaysian shipping company.

He overcharged the military at least $35 million. 

The U.S. Marshals had offered a $40,000 reward for information leading to his capture. 

RJ MCLEOD CAUGHT: MOST WANTED FUGATIVE CAPTURED IN EL SALVADOR PICTURED TEACHING CLASS AT LOCAL SCHOOL 

Francis was captured by Venezuelan authorities advised by Interpol that he was a wanted man. He will remain in Venezuela awaiting extradition to the U.S. 

He cooperated with the prosecution during his home confinement, leading to the convictions of 33 of 34 defendants, including more than two dozen Navy officers.

The U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Justice Southern District of California did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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