Eric C. Conn once directed one of the most lucrative law firms in all of America, making him one the most successful lawyers this nation has ever seen. However, similar to the medical evidence he commonly used in his cases, his success was actually a complete sham. Conn clawed his way to status and wealth by defrauding the SSA of millions for over a decade in West Virginia and Kentucky. As a result of what he considered a cunning plan, Conn has now fallen very far from grace.
On the September 7th of 2018 in Lexington, U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves sentenced Conn to at least 22 years in prison for what could be considered the largest Social Security fraud scheme America has ever suffered. The year prior to his latest hearing, Conn initially pleaded guilty to stealing from the government by filing fraudulent disability claims and bribing Social Security Judges, which carried a 12-year sentence. He later pleaded guilty to three more charges that would add 15 years to his 12-year sentence. The new charges included conspiracy to defraud the SSA, conspiracy to escape, and conspiracy to retaliate against a witness. Along with an additional prison sentence, Judge Reeves also decided that Conn owed the U.S. government $72 million in restitution fees. Conn was a man who was used to wearing luxury suits and other clothing, but was reduced to wearing handcuffs and an ankle chain as he attempted to apologize and express remorse during his sentencing. In his own words, he was “man who wanted to do a lot of good in his life” but instead he has “done a lot of wrong.” He also mentioned that “an apology can’t right the wrongs” he’s done but he believed “it’s a good place to start.” Though this was one of the most humble expressions from Conn, his words were too late to have any value and subsequently fell on deaf ears.
Witnessing Conn in such a vulnerable and emotional state did nothing to sway the hearts of prosecutors as they urged for a maximum sentence for his charges. In the words of the prosecutors themselves, Conn’s words held “zero integrity.” Prosecutors expressed that they could not allow themselves to be convinced by Conn’s statements because his words came only after admission of a grocery list of crimes. Conn’s actions leading up to receiving this punishment would make it quite difficult for anyone to debate the words of the prosecutors at his sentencing.
Six months prior to his sentencing, the infamous attorney fled the country to Honduras in a desperate attempt to evade judgment for evils he committed against countless innocent disabled individuals. Before his international escape, Conn was originally placed under house arrest. A month before his initial sentencing hearing, the attorney decided to cut off his ankle monitor to later abandon it on I-75 in Lexington.
With the FBI temporarily unaware of his whereabouts, Conn understood he had to flee the country fast if he wanted maintain his freedom. The lawyer-turned-fugitive then obtained a vehicle from an unnamed co-conspirator and proceeded to make his way out the country. FBI agents later traced the vehicle to New Mexico, making it obvious that Conn was attempting to cross the U.S. and Mexico border. Unfortunately the FBI could not stop him in time, allowing Conn to successfully escape to Honduras. Now out the country, Conn was convinced he could breathe a little easier but was actually in for a rude awakening. The Technical Agency for Criminal Investigation apprehended the fugitive lawyer in La Ceiba, as he enjoyed a meal from Pizza Hut. Eric Conn was then swiftly extradited back to the U.S.A to proceed with his sentencing. On his arrival to U.S. soil, Conn expressed to reporters that it felt good to be home. This statement was very surprising because home was no longer a luxury household but instead a cold cell in federal prison.
America’s federal court system does not offer inmates parole from their sentence. It is very likely Eric C. Conn, who was 57 at the time of his sentencing, won’t taste freedom until he is in his early 80’s. Many people shared a feeling of satisfaction as justice was finally served to the greedy lawyer. Jennifer Griffith, an early whistleblower to Conn’s crimes, supported the sentencing by stating that she believes it to be “a fair sentence”, especially when compared to the “much lighter sentences” his cohorts received for their involvement in this infamous fraud scheme. Those affected by Conn wouldn’t mind if he spent the rest of his days in a federal cell, but his sentence can possibly be reduced. If Conn is able to maintain a satisfactory record of good behavior, his sentence could be cut by up to 15 percent.
In the past, Eric C. Conn was unable to prevent himself from being consumed by greed, therefore allowing it to influence him to take advantage of the innocent and disabled. His selfish actions inadvertently promoted a humanitarian crisis that negatively affected the lives of thousands of people, with some even taking their own lives. His greed blinded him to the sins he was committing for a decade, and unfortunately realized when it was far too late. Let his life be a testament to what happens when one decides to abandon all sense of morality for their personal gain. It will never end well.