A person claiming to be high-profile fugitive Eric C. Conn told the Herald-Leader in an email that he had assistance escaping home detention on June 2.
The person also said he had noticed attempts by law enforcement to find him through the IP address on his emails, but that he had been “mentored by the master of such things” to avoid detection.
“Do they really think they can find me with such a blunt method?” he said in an email to the newspaper Sunday evening.
A person claiming to be Conn began emailing the Herald-Leader last Friday after nearly a week on the run, and continued to send messages through the weekend and Monday — seven in all.
Conn, who lived in Pikeville and had an office in Floyd County, was one of the top disability lawyers in the nation, winning Social Security benefits for thousands of Eastern Kentucky residents and millions in fees for his firm. He pleaded guilty in March to submitting false medical information to support his clients’ appeals for benefits in one of the biggest disabilty-fraud schemes in U.S. history.
He also admitted paying bribes to David Daugherty, a Social Security judge, to approve claims for his clients. Daugherty also pleaded guilty, saying Conn paid him $609,000 from 2004 to 2011.
In his first email to the paper, the person claiming to be Conn said he cut off the electronic monitoring device on his ankle and fled on June 2 because he was upset that Daugherty and another former judge convicted in the case would receive far less prison time than Conn. Conn was facing up to 12 years in prison.
“Tell me how it is reasonable that the federal government takes such good care of its own corrupt federal judges and aggressively goes after me demanding a protracted sentence,” the person purporting to be Conn said in that June 9 email.
The newspaper has not been able to independently verify that the emails are from Conn and there is no way to respond directly to them.
However, Conn’s Lexington attorney, Scott White, said he received an email setting out identical conditions for the sender to surrender as those in the first message to the newspaper. White said he is convinced the emails are from Conn.
The person claiming to be Conn also included in his initial email to the Herald-Leader a piece of information that the FBI had not publicly released at the time — that the electronic monitoring device Conn had been wearing was found in a backpack. The message said the device was wrapped in material to try to block radio signals. In another email sent Sunday, the person provided more detail about the backpack and the shielding material around the ankle bracelet.
The FBI is investigating the emails but has not publicly responded to the conditions the person claiming to be Conn laid out for his surrender. The agency is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to Conn’s arrest.
David Habich, chief counsel for the FBI in Kentucky, said Monday that the agency is aware someone claiming to be Conn contacted media outlets throughout the state, but has not contacted the FBI “and we encourage him or her to do so.”
The FBI has asked that anyone with information on Conn’s whereabouts call 502-263-6000.
The person claiming to be Conn said in a Sunday email to the newspaper that “there has been much chatter” about who helped Conn flee.
“I assure you the only assistance Eric C. Conn had was from someone who is absolutely insusceptible to the reach of American law” and holds the U.S. legal system in contempt, the email said.
It provided no further detail.
The sender has alleged in the emails that authorities have failed to act on information about crimes by other people and demanded that the newspaper publish their names Monday morning. The newspaper’s refusal to publish the unverified claims hasn’t sat well with the person, who said the newspaper was censoring his statements.
“Suppression is not a disbelief of the truth but a denial of it,” the person said.