Friday, February 16, 2018
The Kentucky Supreme Court has permanently disbarred Eric Conn
The factual basis leading to Conn's disbarment is found in KBA files 22222 and 16-DIS-24363.
KBA file 16-DIS-24363 stems from Conn's guilty plea following his March 16, 2017, plea to two felony counts in criminal ·proceedings before the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky. The Inquiry Commission filed a two-count charge against Conn on September 22, 2017, alleging violations of.SCR 3.130(8.4)(b)2 and SCR 3.130(8.4)(c).3 Conn failed to answer the charge and the matter was submitted to the Board of Governors for processing as a default under SCR 3.120. Through counsel, Conn acknowledged his actions constituted.unethical conduct in violation of the above Rules of Professional Conduct and by letter tendered his resignation to the KBA.
KBA file 22222 is the result of a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge in the Circuit Court of Franklin County, Kentucky. Conn pleaded guilty to violating KRS 121.150( 12) by making a gift of money to another person to contribute to a candidate on his behalf. The felony charge was reduced to a Class A misdemeanor, Conn entereq a guilty plea, and was sentenced to 12 months in jail, conditionally discharged for two years.
We agree with the KBA. Conn's action's, as reflected in his pleading guilty to multiple charges, exhibit condµct which make him unfit to practice law in the Commonwealth. Aside from Conn's recent behavior, fleeing the country, he has pleaded guilty to enough criminal financial activity to support permanent disbarment: one count of Criminal Attempt to Make a Gift to Another Person to Contribute to a Candidate on His Behalf, Theft of Government Money, and Paying Illegal Gratuities.
NPR reported on his capture.
Eric Conn, the Kentucky lawyer who defrauded the Social Security system of more than half a billion dollars before fleeing the U.S. in June, has been arrested in Honduras, according to that country's Public Ministry. Wanted by the FBI, he also sent taunting messages while on the lam.
Conn had been under house arrest when he cut off his ankle monitor a month before his sentencing hearing and left it in a backpack along I-75 in Lexington, Ky. He was later traced to New Mexico, where a truck he had been using was found near the border. The FBI says the vehicle had been provided by a co-conspirator.
Conn eventually made it to Honduras, where agents of the Technical Agency for Criminal Investigation arrested him in the northern city La Ceiba, along the Caribbean coast. At the time, he was leaving a restaurant in a shopping center. Honduran officials say Conn is being sent back to the U.S. on Tuesday.
Known as "the E-Man" in splashy ads and billboards, Conn once headed the largest Social Security law firm in Kentucky, promising to help clients get money from the government. But he was actually at the center of a corrupt group that included doctors, two federal administrative law judges and others who conspired to rig Social Security's disability benefit system, authorities said.
"The negative impact of Conn's presence in our community will be felt for generations," FBI Special Agent in Charge Amy S. Hess said this summer. "His flight from prosecution has diminished any legitimacy and integrity he once held as an attorney and officer of the court."
Members of the ring were indicted in April 2016 on federal charges that included conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and making false statements. Conn entered a guilty plea in March 2017, agreeing to testify against others. But two months later, he disappeared.
After Conn fled, federal agents spotted him in surveillance video at a gas station and at a Walmart in New Mexico, where one image showed him pushing a bicycle.
From Louisville, Ky., member station WFPL, Eleanor Klibanoff reports that federal charges were recently lodged against Curtis Lee Wyatt, who allegedly "bought Conn a car, tested security protocols at the U.S.-Mexico border so Conn would know what to expect and helped him escape from house arrest."