WKYT Investigates: Ky. attorney and federal disability fraud report

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKYT) - It's a scathing report on disability and fraud and at the center is a Kentucky attorney.

Eric Conn's multimillion dollar business of winning disability cases is the target of a Senate investigation.

WKYT has combed through the 160 page document. The contents talk about an alleged scheme that made Eric Conn's disability practice one of the most lucrative in the nation.

Before a nationwide audience an Oklahoma senator and 60 Minutes put the Floyd County attorney in the spotlight.

It's a familiar place for the attorney.

From an office that's turned into a local tourist attraction to publicity stunts of bringing a Cleveland kidnapped victims' hero to Kentucky, Conn is known to be a good marketer.

WKYT tried to contact Eric Conn by calling his office Tuesday afternoon, but we were unable to reach him. His office claims that he is "a busy man."

In page after page the committee details how Conn has built "one of the largest and most lucrative disability practices in the nation."

At its height, Conn's office employed nearly 40 people and obtained more than $3.9 million dollars in legal fees from the Social Security Administration in 2010.

That made him the agency's third highest disability lawyer that year.

His business become well known in eastern Kentucky, which is now home to the ten counties in Kentucky with the highest percentage of people on disability. But the report says he didn't do it all alone.

He's accused of "inappropriate collusion" with a now retired Judge David B. Daugherty in nearby Huntington, West Virginia.

Forty percent of Daugherty's caseload consisted of cases represented by Conn. According to the report, nearly all of those cases he approved for benefits.

The report says Conn and the judge "had collaborated a scheme that enabled the judge to approve, in assembly-line fashion, hundreds of clients for disability benefits using manufactured medical evidence."

Workers in his office testified Monday on capitol hill that they couldn't speak up.

The report claims the judge relied on Conn's doctors to generate medical evidence, and sometimes those medical reports were filled out before doctors even saw the patients. Some of the doctors had revoked licenses, according to senate investigators.

In an unusual move, Senate investigators say Conn and the judge communicated on disposable, prepaid cell phone.

Then the report goes on to say the judge refused to explain how nearly $100,000 showed up in his bank account and his daughter's bank account.

While the report and its 160 pages are lengthy, that's nothing compared to the 2.6 million pages of documents investigators claim Conn had a local shredding company destroy during the Senate investigation.

When called to testify last night on Capitol Hill, Conn didn't answer questions waiting on him. He plead the fifth.

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