A former Social Security disability lawyer who was apprehended overseas and returned to the United States was arraigned today on charges stemming from his escape from home confinement and his failure to appear for sentencing following his March 2017 guilty plea in a social security disability benefits fraud scheme.
Eric C. Conn pleaded not guilty in federal court to escape after he was returned from Honduras, where he was arrested on Saturday outside a pizza restaurant, reportedly after using the wi-fi there.
Authorities in Honduras on Monday arrested a Kentucky attorney who had pleaded guilty to charges over his role in a more than $550 million disability fraud scheme, months after he fled USA law enforcement, Honduran officials said. Yet a federal judge released Conn on $1.25 million bail, and allowed him to remain free even after he pleaded guilty in March to stealing from the federal government and bribing a judge to fix Social Security fraud cases.
US federal agents spent months tracking Conn, who cut off his electronic monitor and fled in June. "He let people like my husband have trust in him, and he let that down".
Eric Conn was handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday, a day after his capture by a SWAT team as he came out of a restaurant in the coastal city of La Ceiba. "I never thought they would catch him".
The Honduran equivalent of American special weapons and tactics officers made the arrest, the ministry office added. A judge set Conn's trial on those charges for February 2018.
The same indictment claims Conn hatched his escape plot around June 2016, two months after he was first indicted and a year before his disappearance.
Conn was famous in Kentucky, where he ran the state's biggest Social Security law firm.
Conn's attorney, Scott White, entered a not guilty plea to those charges during the hearing.
But for hundreds of families in Eastern Kentucky and in West Virginia, the painful legacy of Conn's scam will linger for years.