former eastern Kentucky social security disability lawyer and an
accomplice were charged in a federal indictment with various offenses
related to the lawyer’s escape from home confinement and his failure to
appear for sentencing.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice
Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Amy S. Hess of
the FBI Louisville, Kentucky Field Division and Special Agent in Charge
Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector
General’s (SSA-OIG) Philadelphia Field Division made the announcement.
Christopher Conn, 56, of Pikeville, Kentucky, the former disability
lawyer, and Curtis Wyatt, 47, of Raccoon, Kentucky, his alleged
accomplice, were charged in a seven-count indictment returned on Sept.
6, in the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington. The indictment was
unsealed prior to Wyatt’s initial appearance and arraignment today
before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier of the Eastern District of
Kentucky. Wyatt entered pleas of not guilty and was released on bond
pending his trial, which is scheduled for Dec. 18, before U.S. District
Judge Danny C. Reeves. Conn remains a fugitive.
indictment charges Conn and Wyatt with one count of conspiracy to
escape and one count of conspiracy to fail to appear for sentencing.
Conn is also charged with one count of escape and one count of failing
to appear. Wyatt is also charged with one count each of assisting in
Conn’s escape, aiding and abetting Conn’s failure to appear, and making a
false statement to the FBI.
indictment alleges that Conn, while on home confinement, escaped from
custody by severing an electronic monitoring device from his ankle
during a court-approved visit to Lexington on June 2, and fled to the
Mexican border in a vehicle delivered to him by Wyatt a day earlier.
The indictment further alleges that Wyatt, at Conn’s direction and prior
to Conn’s escape, crossed into Mexico at two different pedestrian
checkpoints to assess security procedures for individuals exiting the
United States in an effort to aid Conn in escaping prior to Conn’s
sentencing hearing. According to the indictment, Conn ultimately failed
to appear for his sentencing hearing on July 14.
was indicted last year, along with a former Social Security
administrative law judge and a clinical psychologist, in an 18-count
indictment charging conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, false statements,
money laundering and other related offenses in connection with a $600
million social security disability fraud scheme. Conn previously
pleaded guilty on March 24, to a two-count information charging him with
theft of government money and paying illegal gratuities, and was
sentenced in absentia on July 14, to 12 years in prison on those
charges. Conn remains charged under the original indictment.
indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed
innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a
court of law.
FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to
the arrest of Eric Christopher Conn. Anyone with information relating
to Conn’s whereabouts should contact their local FBI office or the
nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
SSA-OIG and FBI investigated the case. Trial Attorney Dustin M. Davis
of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Elizabeth G.
Wright of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery
Section are prosecuting the case.