Bad Lawyers

“Conn-Attorney” Pleads Guilty to Fake Disability Benefits Scheme
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Eric C Conn

Summary: Eric Conn, the con-artist attorney, was able to get his benefits over $550 million in fraudulent disability benefits that netted him nearly $6 million.

“Mr. Social Security” pleaded guilty in a Kentucky federal court to defrauding the government out of millions for disability payments. The flamboyant lawyer ran a scheme with the aid of a doctor and judge that stole roughly $600 million from the Social Security Administration for years.


Eric C. Conn lived in what is described as a palatial eastern Kentucky home. He liked to travel the world but is now preparing to travel to prison for up to 12 years. Conn will be sentenced July 14. Attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who is representing hundreds of Conn’s former clients now suing Conn for damages, said, “I’m stunned.”

Conn called himself “Mr. Social Security” for his expertise in disability benefits. Federal prosecutors allege that Conn was able to collect millions of dollars with the help of a doctor and judge that he paid to rubber-stamp false disability claims with fake medical evidence. Conn faced 18 counts but was able to plead down to one count of theft of government money and one count of payment of gratuities.

In 1993, Conn opened is law office out of a trailer in his hometown of Stanville. He was able to build up his firm into one of the most profitable disability firms in the country. His over-the-top advertising campaigns made him a celebrity in the area. He brought along “Conn Hotties” to his events and even built a 19-foot Statue of Liberty replica in his office’s parking lot.

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A Social Security administrative law judge and a clinical psychologist were named in the indictment handed out last year. In his plea, Conn acknowledged his participation in a ten-year-long scheme that included submitting thousands of falsified medical documents to the SSA. The fake requests turned into over $550 million in benefit payments.

In order to make the scheme work, Conn had to pay the judge $10,000 a month for over six years to get the disability benefits awarded in over 1,700 cases. The payments were based solely on falsified medical evidence. From the benefit payments, Conn received over $5.7 million in representative fees.

Conn has not faced any legal consequences for years until his arrest. This was the case even after the SSA stopped disability payments to hundreds of his clients in the impoverished coalfields of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. His clients have been fighting the federal government to keep their disability checks.

Pillersdorf explained that Conn’s guilty plea will not affect those cases but may likely speed up the consideration of the lawsuits against Conn from his clients seeking damages. He said, “I’ve got to get these people money quick. I’ve got 800 people going without, and it’s a real humanitarian crisis. His guilty plea should expedite that process.”

The Social Security Administration gave about 1,500 beneficiaries the opportunity to receive hearing to determine of their benefits could be reinstated. The SSA allowed the benefits to continue during that process. With most of the hearings now complete, about 800 have lost benefits.

Do you think 12 years is enough of a sentence for a decade-long scheme to defraud millions from the government? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about attorneys that defrauded people, read these articles:




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