Economy

Fugitive attorney makes first court appearance on new escape-related charges

Fugitive attorney makes first court appearance on new escape-related charges

White said he does not know how long Conn was in Honduras or whether he'd taken refuge anywhere else.

White later told reporters that Conn was calm when they met for about 40 minutes before the hearing.

He was captured at a Pizza Hut in Honduras Saturday and returned to Lexington Tuesday.

After pleading guilty to charges including conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and making false statements, Conn agreed to testify against other indicted members of the corrupt ring, according to federal agents.

Conn was also charged a year ago, along with a former Social Security administrative law judge and a former clinical psychologist, in an 18-count indictment charging conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, false statements, money laundering and other related offenses in connection with a $550 million Social Security disability fraud scheme.

Conn pleaded guilty in March to charges of theft of government money and payment of gratuities, but fled in June, after he had been placed under house arrest with a Global Positioning System ankle monitor.

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A truck Conn is believed to have used during his escape was discovered in New Mexico near the border with Mexico, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in July.

Conn is also facing charges in a separate case relating to a bond violation.

Conn has now begun serving the twelve year sentence he was given while still on the run.

Conn was thrust in the public fallout after the revelation of a multi-million dollar social security disability scheme. But his empire crumbled when authorities discovered he had been bribing a doctor and judge to approve disability claims based on fake medical evidence.

Ned Pillersdorf, an attorney representing many of Conn's former clients, has said Conn caused a "true humanitarian crisis".

But for hundreds of families in Eastern Kentucky and in West Virginia, the painful legacy of Conn's scam will linger for years. Pillersdorf said those hearings are almost complete, and about 700 have been found eligible to maintain the benefits.


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