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Man who allegedly helped disability lawyer Eric Conn escape the U.S. to plead guilty

Fugitive lawyer Eric Conn was taken into custody by FBI agents on the tarmac at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, December 5, 2017.
Fugitive lawyer Eric Conn was taken into custody by FBI agents on the tarmac at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, December 5, 2017.

A Pike County man will plead guilty to plotting to help one-time disability kingpin Eric C. Conn escape the U.S. in 2017.

Curtis Lee Wyatt will plead guilty to a charge of conspiring with Conn, Wyatt’s attorney said in a court motion.

U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves scheduled a hearing for Wyatt on March 30 in Lexington.

No plea agreement has been filed publicly yet, but the decision to plead guilty could mean Wyatt has agreed to cooperate in the prosecution against Conn.

Conn, of Pikeville, was once one of the top Social Security disability lawyers in the nation, representing thousands of Eastern Kentucky residents in claims for federal benefits.

He admitted in March 2017 that he had used false evidence in hundreds of cases and that he had paid more than $600,000 in bribes to a Social Security judge who rubber-stamped claims for Conn.

Conn, 58, was to be sentenced in July, but fled to Mexico.

Fugitive lawyer Eric C. Conn was convicted in a fraud scheme that could have cost the government more than $550 million in Social Security payments. Here's how the onetime king of Eastern Kentucky disability cases ended up on the FBI's most-wanted

Conn told the Herald-Leader that he walked through a pedestrian crossing from the U.S. to Mexico, then ultimately made his way to a city on the northern coast of Honduras, dodging security checks on the way.

Police caught him there on Dec. 2 as he finished lunch at a Pizza Hut.

Wyatt, who lives at Raccoon, worked for Conn for several years at his law office in Floyd County before it was closed, and allegedly remained loyal to Conn after he was charged in the massive fraud case.

Wyatt is charged with taking a number of steps to aid Conn’s escape, including opening a bank account Conn could use to move money out of the U.S.; buying a 2002 Dodge Ram pickup truck for Conn to drive to the southern border; and crossing into Mexico by foot from Arizona and New Mexico twice to test the security measures in place.

Reeves sentenced Conn to 12 years in prison in the Social Security fraud case while Conn was out of the country.

Conn began serving that sentence when the FBI brought him back from Honduras. He also faces unresolved charges in the fraud case and charges related to the escape.

Former disability lawyer Eric C. Conn was captured Dec. 2 at a Pizza Hut in Honduras after six months on the lam, according to the FBI.

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