A Social Security Disability lawyer is set to be sentence in July for his role in a $550 million Social Security fraud scheme, officials announced Friday.
Eric Christopher Conn, 56, of Pikeville, Kentucky, plead guilty in federal court to one count of theft of government money and one count of payment of gratuities.
He is scheduled to be sentenced July 14.
According to the plea and other evidence, from October 2004 to April 6, 2016, Conn participated in a scheme with former Social Security administrative law judge David B. Daugherty and multiple doctors.
It involved the submission of thousands of falsified medical documents to the Social Security.
As a result of the scheme, Conn and his co-conspirators obligated the Social Security to pay more than $550 million in lifetime benefits to claimants for these fraudulent submissions.
Conn is an attorney whose firm in Floyd County, Kentucky, focused for more than 20 years primarily on representing individuals seeking Social Security disability benefits throughout Kentucky and elsewhere, the evidence indicated.
According to court documents, Conn admitted that from December 2004 through April 2011, he paid Daugherty approximately $10,000 a month to award disability benefits to claimants for whom Conn submitted falsified medical documents.
As part of his plea, Conn admitted that he submitted the falsified medical documents, and Daugherty authored decisions granting disability benefits, in well over 1,700 claimants’ cases.
Conn admitted that he paid medical professionals to sign medical forms that he fabricated before evaluations of claimants took place.
According to the plea, Conn routinely prepared and medical professionals, such as clinical psychologist Alfred Bradley Adkins, signed evaluation reports indicating that claimants had limitations considered disabling by the SSA, irrespective of the claimants’ actual physical or mental conditions.
Conn admitted that he received more than $5.7 million in representative fees from the SSA based upon these fraudulent claims.
Conn was indicted last year, along with Daugherty and Adkins. They were charged with conspiracy, fraud, false statements, money laundering and other related offenses in connection with the scheme.
Defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.