Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mastermind of largest Social Security fraud in history caught in Honduras

The following article appeared on the American Thinker on December 4th

Eric Conn, who masterminded the largest Social Security disability claim fraud in history, and who had been on the run since pleading guilty at his trial six months ago, was captured by the FBI in Honduras.

Conn and a host of conspirators who included doctors, lawyers, and a Social Security judge bilked the taxpayer for potentially $600 million in bogus disability claims. 
Eric Conn
Conn was on bail when he cut off his ankle monitor and fled the country.

He was spotted heading to the U.S.-Mexico border, and told news outlets he had managed to escape the U.S., but the FBI over the summer said it doubted he'd actually left the country.

A man purporting to be Conn had bragged to outlets, including The Washington Times, about his ability to escape, and explaining his reasons.

The Honduran newspaper ran a photo of Conn surrounded by masked officers of the Technical Criminal Investigation Agency, which was the division that tracked him down.

Conn was sentenced in absentia in July to 12 years in prison, but authorities said at the time they would consider adding more charges based on his flight from custody.

Scott White, Conn's lawyer, told Kentucky reporters that he hadn't been contacted by the U.S. government yet, and wasn't sure what to make of the photo and reports from Honduras.

"Given the security situation in Honduras and the dangerous gangs operating there as has been reported as recently as the last few weeks in relation to its election, then who knows who these masked folks are, for whom they work, or if Eric has even been lawfully seized. Those may or may not be issues for either our courts or the Honduran courts," he said.

He added, though, that if Conn was lawfully apprehended, he had predicted it back in June.

"The FBI usually gets their man," he said.

Did any of the 1,700 people who received disability benefits as a result of the scam know that the payments were illegal?  The government put 1,500 of them through a redetermination process and approved only 46% of them.  Two of the beneficiaries reportedly committed suicide when their appeals were denied.  None of the beneficiaries has been charged with a crime.

The case shows how easy it is for a clever lawyer to scam the Social Security system.  You have to wonder how many more Eric Conns are out there operating with relative impunity.  Social Security fraud prevention efforts leave a lot to be desired, and considering the billions of dollars paid out for disability claims every year, it presents the probability that the agency is wasting money it can ill afford to lose.

Ed.  Conn certainly didn't operate this monumental scam alone. The Coach's Team published an article last month which detailed the conviction of Judge David Daugherty, one of Conn's confederates, who was responsible for "rubber-stamping" the approved Social Security claims of some 1,700 people. Dougherty received a 4 year stretch and was given a $93 million dollar fine!

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