LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A former fugitive and social security disability lawyer pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday.
Eric Conn, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to escape and one count of conspiracy to retaliate against an informant.
“The SSA-OIG thanks all of our law enforcement partners for their assistance during the investigation of Mr. Conn’s fraud scheme and subsequent efforts to locate and apprehend Mr. Conn,” said SSA-OIG Special Agent in Charge McGill. “Despite his best efforts to escape justice, Mr. Conn is ultimately being held accountable for defrauding SSA and U.S. taxpayers.”
According to officials from October 2004 to December 2017, Conn was involved in a scheme with former SSA administrative law judge, multiple doctors and others to submit thousands of falsified medical documents to obtain disability benefits.
The total amount was over $550 million for thousands of people.
Conn fled the country with the help of Curtis Lee Wyatt by severing the electronic monitoring device from his ankle and fleeing across the Mexican border.
Officials say on Dec. 5, 2017, Conn was returned to the United States from Honduras after being apprehended by Honduran authorities.
In addition to the 12 years in prison Conn is currently serving, he now faces an additional 15 years in prison.
“At the Department of Justice, a key mission is protecting the federal treasury on behalf of the American people,” said Attorney General Sessions. “In this case, the defendant’s scheme fraudulently obligated the Social Security Administration to pay over half a billion dollars in lifetime disability benefits, and then he fled the country. Thanks to the hard work of the FBI, DOJ lawyers, and our partners with the Social Security Administration, the IRS-CI, HHS-OIG, and our allies in Honduras, this criminal plot did not fully succeed. This case shows yet again that to track down criminals and hold them to account, this Department will cross continents and work with authorities around the globe.”
His sentencing is set for Sept. 7 at 1 p.m.