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FBI Believes Eric C. Conn Had Help Escaping Home Detention
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Eric Conn

Summary: In a turn of events, an attorney accused of submitting false Social Security claims removed his ankle device and has gone on the run.

The Eastern Kentucky lawyer who absconded from home detention likely had help, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent. Attorney Eric Christopher Conn was on home detention with an ankle monitoring device until his sentencing hearing in July until he disappeared. The state’s top FBI agent is confident that he had help.

  
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Agent Amy Hess said in a news conference, “We’re actively pursuing the consideration of charges against any of those individuals.” The likelihood of charges appearing against family or associates is strong in the coming weeks as the investigation into his whereabouts continues. Hess mentioned that some charges may appear early next week. She added, “We believe that it would be unlikely for him to flee and remain in his escape status at this point without some type of additional help, so therefore we’re pursuing all angles as to who might be helping him currently.”

Hess also explained during the news conference that the longer Conn is on the run, the more charges he will face in addition to what he already has. His attorney, Scott White, urges Conn to surrender. He said, “My goal has been to get Eric to surrender – it is 100 percent in his best interest to do that.” If he surrenders before being charged with additional charges, they could be handled as bond violations instead of criminal charges. If he surrenders or is caught after receiving more charges, the consequences will be more severe. White said, “In that case, the number of years he is facing in prison will dramatically increase.”

Conn used to be one of the top Social Security disability attorneys in the country. He had an office in Floyd County and lived in nearby Pikeville. He found himself in trouble when it became evident that he was submitting false claims for his clients. He pleaded guilty to submitting false medical information and to bribing a Social Security Administration judge in March.

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Conn was required to testify against a Pikeville psychologist Bradley Adkins who helped Conn by signing false mental-impairment evaluations used in some of the cases. Conn spent most of the day before his disappearance in Lexington testifying. When he returned home that evening, he cut off his electronic ankle monitor and hasn’t been seen since.

Officials believe his time spent testifying likely played a role in his decision to run. The FBI is confident that he is still in the country based on tips they have been receiving. They are busy working with other agencies like the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure he stays in the country and is not able to cross a border.



They have searched his office, a series of connected mobile homes in Stanville, and his mother’s home and car. They suspect her car was used to help him flee but other cars may have been used as well.

An email was sent by someone claiming to be him to the Herald-Leader on June 9 stating that he was upset that the others charged in the case were getting less jail time so he fled. Judge David B. Daugherty faces a maximum of four years for taking $609,000 in payoffs from Conn between 2004 and 2011. Daugherty’s boss, Charlie Paul Andrus, pleaded guilty to retaliating against the Social Security employee that turned Conn and Daugherty in. He has a maximum of ten years behind bars. Conn was facing a maximum of 12 years in prison before he ran away.

Another email sent from his account details the terms of his surrender. The email wants the FBI to publicly acknowledge that Conn has no history of violence and that he fled because of the unfair sentence he was facing compared to the judges. The email also wants the FBI to clarify that the statement made by Hess at an earlier news conference about not approaching him was not in regards to a specific concern.

Hess explained that while Conn has no history of violence, “When someone flees to escape sentencing, to escape being held accountable for their actions, we believe that they do present a potential danger to the community.” The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to his location and arrest.

Do you think Conn only fled because his sentence length was unfair? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about the case, read these articles:

Photo: courier-journal.com



 

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