‘Mr Social Security’ pleads guilty in US$550m fraud

by |
A Kentucky lawyer, known for his extravagant marketing and his self-styled title of “Mr Social Security,” faces up to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to conning the US government out of more than US$550m in disability payments.

Eric C. Conn, 56, admitted last Friday that he submitted fake medical documents and bribed an administrative law judge and various doctors in more than 1,700 cases to obligate the Social Security Administration (SSA) to pay the millions in lifetime benefits for claimants he represented.

In his plea, Conn said he colluded with former SSA administrative law judge David B. Daugherty and multiple doctors on the scheme, which ran from October 2004 to 6 April 2016, according to the Justice Department.

Conn said that from December 2004 to April 2011, he paid the judge about US$8,000 to US$14,000 a month to award disability benefits to claimants for whom the lawyer submitted falsified medical documents. Conn said in the plea that he paid medical professionals, such as clinical psychologist Alfred Bradley Adkins, to sign fabricated medical forms even before evaluations of claimants took place.

The lawyer said he made at least US$5.7m representing claimants and agreed to pay that amount to the government. He also agreed to pay US$46.5m to the SSA as part of his plea, according to the Lexington Herald Leader. Conn will sell his house and forfeit his office complex, which includes a 19-foot-tall statue of Abraham Lincoln out front, to help with his payments.

Conn, who will be sentenced by 14 July, faces up to 12 years in prison. Charges are pending against Daugherty and Adkins.

The SSA is said to be reconsidering the benefits for about 1,500 of the lawyer’s former clients, while about 700 have been allowed to keep their benefits.

Related stories:
Man cleared of fraud wants to be a criminal lawyer
Jail for Brisbane lawyer after $1.8m fraud