‘Mr. Social Security’ Pleads Guilty To Fraud
Conn’s Hotties are no more, as Eastern Kentucky lawyer Eric Conn admitted in court that he falsified more than 1,700 social security disability applications that are worth as much as $550 million in lifetime benefits.
In 2011, a whistleblower first drew attention to the long-running scam, which included Mr. Conn, a stable of psychologists and doctors (including Alfred Adkins) who filed false reports, and a judge (David Daugherty) who approved the applications without even holding hearings. Mr. Conn, who faces a July sentencing date, has already been ordered to pay $31 million in civil penalties, restitution, and damages; Mr. Adkins and Mr. Daugherty have yet to have their days in court. In court documents, Mr. Conn accused Mr. Daugherty of masterminding the plot, after he allegedly approached Mr. Conn for a $5,000 payment and threaten to deny Mr. Conn’s petitions out of hand if payment wasn’t forthcoming. The two eventually agreed for the judge to receive $400 per approved application. As authorities began to close in, Mr. Conn destroyed most of his records and produced a false video to discredit the whistleblower. So far, government auditors have determined that about half of Mr. Conn’s cases were meritorious. As many as nine people committed suicide after they learned that their social security disability benefits might be terminated.
During his law office’s heyday, Mr. Conn paid women to wear tight-fitting t-shirts emblazoned with his phone number.
Social Security Disability Process
One of the reasons that the Eric Conn scheme went on for so long is that, conceptually, disability is a subjective term that is not easy to define. That being said, the Social Security Administration examines several objective factors to determine qualification:
- Work History: Most applicants must have at least 40 credits to qualify. Workers can earn up to four credits a year.
- Disability: In this context, workers are disabled if they cannot work in their prior occupations, their medical conditions prevent them from obtaining alternate employment, and their conditions will last at least one year or are terminal.
Furthermore, to obtain Social Security disability benefits, the claimant must be unable to work and have a “severe” condition that is either listed in the Blue Book or substantially similar to a listed condition. Special rules apply with regard to certain conditions (such as blindness), disabled children, disabled veterans, and spouses of deceased workers.
Typically, benefits are retroactive to the date of filing.
Social Security disability benefits provide a needed income stream for claimants. For a free consultation with an experienced Social Security lawyer in Morgantown, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.