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U.S. Marshals search for 'Fat Leonard' following escape from house arrest

Sept. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Marshals in California were searching overnight and into Tuesday for a foreign defense contractor known as "Fat Leonard" who escaped from house arrest where he was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to a massive corruption scandal involving Navy officials.

Leonard Glenn Francis escaped his San Diego home Sunday morning after cutting off his GPS monitoring bracelet, the U.S. Marshals Service San Diego tweeted late Monday.

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"As of now, Leonard Francis is wanted for violating the conditions of his pretrial release," USMS said in a statement announcing that the San Diego Fugitive Task Force has been deployed to find the Malaysian.

Circumstances surrounding his escape were not immediately available.

Francis' escape comes weeks before he was to be sentenced after he pleaded guilty in January of 2015 to charges stemming from what has come to be known as the Fat Leonard Scandal.

In his plea deal, Francis admitted to defrauding the U.S. Navy of tens of millions of dollars through over billing it for years for services that ranged from fuel to sewage disposal.

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Francis said in the agreement that for steering contracts to his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, he bribed officials with millions of dollars in cash and goods, including $500,000 in cash as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in prostitute services and associated expenses.

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He identified seven Navy officials who accepted his bribes and said some of them also provided him with classified and proprietary information.

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