In March of this year, attorney Eric Conn pleaded guilty to running a scheme to defraud Social Security of $600 million. Conn was out on bond pending his plea deal being approved. On June 2, Conn cut off his court-ordered GPS monitoring bracelet and threw it out on a highway. He has not been heard from since. Conn was facing up to 12 years in prison and was ordered to pay $83.2 million in fines and penalties. The FBI believes that Conn is likely still in the United States.
Conn’s schemes involved bribing doctors and a judge to process and approve his clients’ disability claims. From 2006 to 2016, Conn processed approximately 1,700 applications for Social Security benefits totaling approximately $550 million in lifetime benefits. Since the revelation of Conn’s scheme, his clients have been contacted by the Social Security Administration claiming they owe as much as $100,000 for receiving disability payments going back ten years unless they can prove they were disabled for the entire time. In many cases, Conn destroyed the medical records of his clients making proving the ten year disability a near impossibility.
Shannon Fauver, an attorney representing many of Conn’s former clients said that many of the former clients have lost their disability and seven of the former clients have killed themselves. A person holding himself out as Conn has emailed at least one reporter laying out conditions of a possible surrender to the FBI. The purported terms include a public statement from the FBI that Conn fled because he found it unfair his co-conspirators received a lesser punishment, that the FBI publicly acknowledge Conn has no history of violence, and that the FBI not charge him with any additional crimes related to his fleeing.
Psychologist Alfred Adkins was convicted by a jury for helping Conn in his scheme and now faces up to twenty years in prison. The FBI stated that they have been receiving tips on Conn and his personal attorney has urged Conn to turn himself in. Conn is scheduled to be sentenced next month and a failure to surrender and appear for the sentencing could lead to further charges and more prison time.
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