“Fat Leonard” is the most shocking unknown tale of our era: Leonard Francis, a 350-pound defense contractor, bribed U.S. Navy officers with cash, prostitutes and luxury items in return for fraudulent multi-million-dollar deals. Eventually the NCIS set up an off-the-books operation to entrap Leonard. As details of his fraud became clear, the Navy moved to protect its senior ranks. In “Fat Leonard,” the debut podcast from Project Brazen (the content studio created by “Billion Dollar Whale” co-authors and former Wall Street Journal reporters Bradley Hope and Tom Wright), Leonard himself, detained since 2013, is talking for the first time -- and he’s angry. Host Tom Wright has spent hours with Leonard, but also recording scores of other voices, including the brave women who exposed the fraud. The alarming and sordid details in “Fat Leonard” lay bare the misogyny and sexual abuse that persist in the U.S. military and could destabilize the biggest trials yet of Navy officers in this case, set to begin in 2022. “Fat Leonard” will change the way you look at the Navy forever.
We look back at the Tailhook sexual assault scandal of 1991 through the voice of Navy whistleblower Paula Coughlin. The Navy’s problem with misogyny is deep seated and it set the stage for Leonard’s rise.
Ring of Steel
Out of jail, aged 21, Leonard begins his career as a defense contractor, just as the U.S. embarks on its Forever Wars. Through skill, bribes and luck, we chart the Wolf of Wall Street-like rise of Leonard, on the back of a product called the Ring of Steel.
Leonard Francis became the most powerful military contractor in the Pacific, running a mafia organization at the heart of the U.S. Navy. He’s over 300 pounds, and charming. We meet him in jail, and explore why he’s talking exclusively to our host, author and journalist Tom Wright. We explore Leonard’s troubled childhood. It turns out this isn’t his first time in prison.
Introducing Fat Leonard
Leonard Francis, AKA Fat Leonard, is angry, and he’s talking for the first time. His explosive story will change the way you look at the U.S. Navy forever.