Two months after he pleaded guilty to a nearly $600 million Social Security fraud scheme that brought down a psychologist and a judge, former disability lawyer Eric Conn has gone missing on Saturday. Conn’s disappearance also came after he slipped his ankle monitor.
After entering his plea on March 24, Conn was released on bond to await his sentence scheduled on July 14, according to the Department of Justice. General counsel for FBI’s Louisville, Ky., office David Habich said that Conn’s “whereabouts are currently unknown.” Employees at Conn’s office told the FBI that Conn may have fled to Cuba.
Conn previously became known for promising to get his clients from Floyd County, Ky., the best disability and social security payments. His fraud scheme involved paying close to $10,000 per month from 2004 to 2011 to local judge David Black Daugherty, to rule favorably for his clients in federal disability cases.
The now already retired Daugherty has also been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud. Psychologist Alfred Bradley Adkins was also part of the scheme as he was the one who created fake medical documents for Conn’s clients to get the Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits.
Conn also faces a class action lawsuit from his former clients. The probe into Conn’s case has led the federal government to review Social Security benefits of 1,500 people, more than half of them at 800 are deemed ineligible and have since lost their benefits.
Class suit lawyer Ned Pillersdorf is not surprised that Conn would pull off an escape act. He said: “It was totally predictable that he would flee. I was always shocked that, when he was arrested, he was actually allowed out on bond. And there has been a betting pool going on in Prestonsburg (Kentucky) on not if he would flee, but when. The anger toward him is overwhelming.”
Conn started his law firm in 1993 and led it to grow into a lucrative local practice. He also became controversial for pulling off such publicity stunts like building the largest replica of the Abraham Lincoln memorial and a scale model of the Statue of Liberty. He also became famous for his TV ads where he was projected as a lawyer “who’s not about to give up on a fight”, and another one showing him dancing beside the viral YouTube star known as “Obama Girl.”