Eric C. Conn violated his bond conditions when he left the country and did not show up for sentencing in his Social Security disability fraud case, U.S. Magistrate Judge Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier ruled Thursday.
The decision means the government can immediately sell the former disability attorney’s office complex on U.S. 23 in Floyd County, Conn’s attorney, Scott T. White, said after the hearing in federal court in Lexington.
The property already was subject to forfeiture by the government. It would have been more cumbersome to dispose of the property before the bond ruling, however, White said.
Conn’s office, made up of several connected mobile homes with a large statue of Abraham Lincoln out front, has been valued at $659,100.
Never miss a local story.
Conn agreed to pay the government $5.7 million when he pleaded guilty to stealing from the Social Security Administration and to making illegal payments to a Social Security judge. The sale of his former office would be applied to that debt.
The FBI also has been tracking down bank accounts and other assets in which authorities believe Conn had an interest.
No new information was provided at the hearing about how Conn allegedly left the country or his whereabouts in the six months he spent in hiding before he was arrested Dec. 2 in Honduras.
Conn, 57, successfully represented thousands of Eastern Kentucky residents seeking federal disability benefits, but admitted in March that he used falsified evidence of physical and mental impairment in many clients’ cases.
David B. Daugherty, a Social Security judge, took more $600,000 in illegal payments from Conn to approve claims for his clients.
Conn was on home detention awaiting sentencing when he cut the electronic monitor from his ankle and fled June 2.
As a result, prosecutors kept the original indictment against him in place, with 18 felony charges including conspiracy and fraud.
In addition, Conn faces escape charges in a separate case. One of his former employees, Curtis Lee Wyatt, is charged with him in that case.
Conn would face a life sentence if convicted in the 18-count case, but White said he plans to argue that the government should not be allowed to prosecute Conn in that case.
White said Conn gave prosecutors a substantial amount of information after negotiating his plea, which helped in cases against Daugherty and Bradley Adkins, a Pikeville psychologist convicted of signing false evaluations for Conn.
One question at issue is whether prosecutors should now be able to use information Conn provided to try to convict him of additional charges.
White said in court Thursday that Conn no longer has money to pay him.
White asked to stay on as Conn’s attorney by appointment of the court — paid with public funds — because of his long familiarity with the case, and because Conn wants him to stay on.
However, White is not on the panel of attorneys designated to take court-appointed cases.