Attorney Eric Conn arraigned on federal charges of fraud, money laundering

Published: Apr. 4, 2016 at 8:23 PM EDT
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Floyd County attorney Eric Conn, who was at the center of a investigation over disability benefits, was arrested Monday after he was indicted by a federal grand jury.

According to federal court documents, investigators also obtained arrest warrants for David Black Daugherty, a retired federal judge who worked at the Huntington Hearing Office in West Virginia, and Dr. Alfred Bradley Adkins, a licensed clinical psychologist who once testified before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs regarding Conn.

All three men are accused of participating in a conspiracy in which they deprived the Social Security Administration of "money and property," according to an 18-count federal indictment.

Conn and Adkins were arraigned Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Lexington. A a detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday and Conn will remain in custody until then. Adkins was released after posting bond.

Court documents say the men worked together to retroactively pay disability benefits to multiple people and those people continued receiving Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

The indictment comes after years of legwork in the case against Conn. He was previously accused of using fraudulent information to win Social Security benefits for hundreds of clients in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Lawsuits were filed against Conn and the government. The Eastern Kentucky attorney has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Conn was in court last July when a federal judge dismissed most of the lawsuit claims. The allegations of fraud led the Social Security Administration to suspend his clients' benefits. The agency later reversed its decision, but Conn's clients had to refile for their disability claims.

In this most recent case, court documents say Conn -- who represented clients in Fleming, Floyd, Lawrence, Madison Counties, parts of Eastern Kentucky and elsewhere -- frequently filed or had others file disability applications with the Prestonsburg Field Office. He did that, documents say, in an effort to bring the case before the Huntington Hearing Office, where Daugherty "self-assigned those cases" or directed others to assign the cases to him, according to court documents.

Daughtery, documents say, had Conn submit falsified medical evidence "so that Daugherty could issue fully favorable decisions."

Adkins and multiple unindicted co-conspirators performed physical and mental evaluations on clients and prepared or signed evaluations indicating that the clients had disabilities. Conn paid the unindicted co-conspirators between $300 and $450 per evaluation, documents say.

Conn and Adkins were being held for the FBI in the Pike County Detention Center. Information on Daugherty was not immediately available.

A jury trial is scheduled for June 7.

The indictment includes the following charges:

  • Making false statements
  • Destroying records in a federal case
  • Laundering money
  • Conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud
  • Conspiring to retaliate against a witness
  • Conspiring to structure currency transactions