Fugitive attorney makes first court appearance on new escape-related charges

Mae Love
December 7, 2017

"The first thing I asked him when I saw him was 'Why'd you stop in Honduras?'" White said.

An indictment unsealed in October alleged that one of his employees opened a bank account Conn used to transfer money, tested security at the Mexican border and bought a pickup truck for use in Conn's escape.

Authorities in Honduras on Monday arrested a Kentucky attorney who had pleaded guilty to charges over his role in a more than $550 million disability fraud scheme, months after he fled US law enforcement, Honduran officials said.

After pleading guilty to charges including conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and making false statements, Conn agreed to testify against other indicted members of the corrupt ring, according to federal agents.

Conn is scheduled to go to trial on the escape charges in February of next year.

Wier set a bond violation hearing in Conn's case for December 28.

The arrest came less than five months after a USA district judge in Lexington, Kentucky, sentenced him in absentia to 12 years in prison.

White told the Herald-Leader that if Conn hadn't fled, he might have been able to reduce his 12-year sentence to nine or 10 years and serve 85 percent of the total.

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Hess was there to greet Conn as the government plane landed at Bluegrass Airport Tuesday night.

As reporters shouted questions at him, Conn said: "It's good to be home", according to WSAZ-TV.

Conn fled on June 2.

Conn, who started his law practice in a trailer in 1993, had portrayed himself as "Mr".

"That's wonderful", said Donna Dye, whose husband was among Conn's clients in Appalachia.

Conn was famous in Kentucky, where he ran the state's biggest Social Security law firm.

But his empire crumbled when authorities discovered he had been bribing a doctor and a judge to approve disability claims based on fake medical evidence.

But for hundreds of families in Eastern Kentucky and in West Virginia, the painful legacy of Conn's scam will linger for years.

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