Summary: The attorney from Kentucky who led a $600 million Social Security fraud scheme turned into a fugitive who fled to Mexico to escape home arrest.
After masterminding a $600 million Social Security fraud scheme, Kentucky attorney Eric Conn was placed on home arrest. Somehow he was able to remove his ankle monitor and escape to Mexico with the help of another man. Prosecutors have indicted Conn while his accomplice, Curtis Wyatt, pleaded not guilty to charges against him.
The 56-year-old attorney from Pikeville was put under house arrest after pleading guilty to theft of government money and paying illegal gratuities in March. Also involved in the Social Security scheme was a former judge and psychologist who assisted in filing false medical paperwork to the U.S. Social Security Administration in order to get the agency to pay retroactive disability benefits to the claimants and to pay benefits in the future.
The U.S. Department of Justice verified that Conn was able to take off his ankle monitoring device when he was visiting Lexington, Kentucky on June 2. From there he received help from Wyatt, a former employee, who provided a car, so Conn could escape across the Mexico border. They said, “Wyatt, at Conn’s direction and prior to Conn’s escape, crossed into Mexico at two different pedestrian checkpoints to assess security procedures for individuals exiting the United States in an effort to aid Conn in escaping prior to Conn’s sentencing hearing.”
When his July 14 sentencing hearing rolled around, Conn failed to appear and was still considered a fugitive. Meanwhile, Wyatt, 47, has appeared in the Eastern Kentucky federal court and pleaded not guilty to two of the same charges that Conn was indicted on. Those charges were conspiracy to escape and conspiracy to fail to appear for sentencing. Wyatt did plead guilty to the charges of assisting in the escape of Conn, aiding and abetting in Conn’s failure to appear, and making false statements to the FBI. He had been released on bond and has a trial set for December 18.
New details have emerged, alleging that Conn had been planning his escape for over a year. Wyatt opened a bank account for Conn to use in order to transfer money out of the country. Wyatt then purchased a pickup truck to be used by Conn in his escape. The false statement he made is in regards to the truck he purchased for Conn. The monitoring device was found in a backpack along Interstate 75 in Lexington on June 2. Surveillance footage from July shows Conn at a gas station and Walmart store in New Mexico.
The scheme concocted between Conn, a judge and psychology generated $600 million in fake disability payments in just two years. Conn has admitted to receiving over $5.7 million in representative fees from the Social Security Administration for his work on the fraudulent claims.
He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay roughly $170 million in restitution despite being absent from his hearing.
Do you think Conn should have ever been allowed to be on home arrest? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
To learn more about attorney Eric Conn and his scheme, read these articles:
- FBI Offering $20,000 For Info That Leads to Arrest of Social Security Lawyer Eric Conn
- “Mr. Social Security” Eric C. Conn Indicted for Disability Fraud Charges
- “Conn-Attorney” Pleads Guilty to Fake Disability Benefits Scheme