State

Accomplice of fugitive Eric Conn attempts suicide, loses bid for new trial

Alfred Bradley Adkins left the federal courthouse in Lexington in April 2016 after his hearing about mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, making false statements and money laundering.
Alfred Bradley Adkins left the federal courthouse in Lexington in April 2016 after his hearing about mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, making false statements and money laundering. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

A Pikeville psychologist tried to hang himself after he was convicted of conspiring with disability attorney Eric C. Conn to defraud the Social Security Administration of millions of dollars, according to a court record.

A federal prosecutor cited the unsuccessful suicide attempt in arguing that Alfred Bradley Adkins should not be released on bond pending sentencing.

U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves turned down Adkins’ request to be released.

On Monday, Reeves also denied Adkins’ request to be acquitted or given a new trial.

Prosecutors presented “substantial and compelling evidence” that Adkins joined in a conspiracy with Conn and others to defraud Social Security, Reeves wrote.

Adkins was charged with Conn and David B. Daugherty, a former administrative law judge, with taking part in the largest effort to defraud Social Security in the history of the program.

Conn pleaded guilty to submitting false information on his clients’ physical and mental problems to justify their claims. He also admitted bribing Daugherty, who approved benefits for thousands of Conn’s clients.

Daugherty pleaded guilty to taking more than $600,000 in bribes from Conn from 2004 to 2011.

Adkins was charged with signing false mental-impairment evaluations for Conn to use in claims.

A jury convicted Adkins on June 12 of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and making a false statement in a record submitted to Social Security.

Reeves ordered Adkins taken into custody after the verdict.

About an hour later, the U.S. Marshals Service notified Reeves that Adkins had tried to hang himself in a holding cell at the federal courthouse in Lexington, according to a court document. The document didn’t provide any additional details.

Reeves said in an order that although Adkins’ attempt was unsuccessful, it “refutes his claims of stability and the assertions that Adkins is not a danger to himself or to others, or that he would not flee if given the opportunity.”

That was one reason Reeves denied Adkins’ request to be released pending his sentencing in September.

Adkins’ attorney requested a mental evaluation for Adkins, saying there is reason to think that he might be suffering from a mental disease that will leave him unable to assist in preparing for his sentencing.

Adkins faces up to 65 years in prison, according to a motion by Dustin M. Davis, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Daugherty’s plea deal outlines a sentence of four years.

Conn’s plea deal called for a maximum sentence of 12 years. It also required him to pay the government $5.7 million to cover fees he received through fraud and to reimburse Social Security $46 million.

Conn was on home detention awaiting sentencing when he cut off the electronic monitor on his ankle June 2 and disappeared.

He later told the Herald-Leader by email that he used a fake passport to fly on June 3 to a country that does not extradite people wanted for crimes to the U.S., though the FBI later released photos showing Conn at two stores in New Mexico after June 3. There is nothing new to release on the investigation, an FBI spokesman said Tuesday.

The agency is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to Conn’s capture.

Reeves sentenced Conn to 12 years in prison in absentia.

FBI Special Agent In Charge Amy Hess briefs the press on developments in the case against former attorney Eric Conn. Conn pled guilty to one of the largest disability-fraud cases in the nation's history.

Attorney Eric Conn was accused of hiring doctors to submit false health assessments and colluding with a Kentucky judge who approved the disability claims. He refused to testify at a Senate hearing on fraudulent Social Security disability benefits

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