Criminal Justice

Ex-lawyer captured outside Pizza Hut in Honduras pleads guilty to escape charge

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Eric Conn/FBI.

A onetime lawyer who fled the country after pleading guilty in a disability fraud scheme entered another guilty plea on Monday in a deal that would give him an extra 15 years in prison.

Eric Conn’s total recommended prison sentence is 27 years, report the Washington Times and the Lexington Herald-Leader. The 58-year-old former lawyer pleaded guilty to three conspiracy counts for plots to defraud the Social Security administration out of more than $550 million, to escape and to retaliate against a whistleblowing Social Security employee. A press release is here.

Conn appeared to shake and wince during the hearing before a Kentucky federal judge, and said in an answer to a question that he was in pain but the hearing could continue, according to the Herald-Leader. He also said he takes anti-anxiety medication.

Conn was arrested last December outside a Pizza Hut in Honduras. He had been sentenced in absentia to 12 years in prison after previously pleading guilty in the Social Security scheme.

The government had accused Conn of bribing an administrative law judge to obligate the government to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in lifetime disability payments for his clients in about 1,800 cases. The Social Security Administration has identified another 2,000 suspicious disability grants.

The retaliation charge accuses Conn of trying to discredit the whistleblower by videotaping her during a work-at-home program and then by fabricating a videotape.

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