Federal Bureau of Investigation escorting Kentucky fugitive from Honduras

Adjust Comment Print

Eric Conn was handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation after his capture by a SWAT team as he left the restaurant in the coastal city of La Ceiba.

Conn's legal woes now go beyond his plea deal in the massive fraud case.

"Conn will now be held accountable for his actions, the people he deceived and the lives he shattered, including all the victims of his greed in eastern Kentucky", said Amy Hess, special agent in charge of the Louisville field office for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"The first thing I asked him when I saw him was 'Why'd you stop in Honduras?'" White said. After taking his seat, he looked around the courtroom and nodded toward the prosecution team. Conn was expected to arrive in Lexington, Kentucky, late Tuesday afternoon.

A federal prosecutor declined to comment after the hearing.

The indictment tacked on escape and failure to appear charges against Conn.

"That completely changes the tenor of what we've got to do", White said. His sentencing went on without him last summer, when he was given a 12-year prison term - the maximum possible.

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.

White said he does not know how long Conn was in Honduras or whether he'd taken refuge anywhere else.

Conn started serving his sentence in the disability case when he was taken into custody by USA authorities, according to his lawyer, Scott White.

Conn was arrested outside a Pizza Hut in La Ceiba and has been brought back to Lexington, Kentucky to face justice, the American Bar Association said.

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

US federal agents spent months tracking Conn, who cut off his electronic monitor and fled in June.

One of Conn's former employees, Curtis Lee Wyatt, is facing charges of helping in Conn's escape. Most of his clients in the impoverished coalfields of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia had to fight to try to keep their disability checks.

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

The FBI office in Louisville, Kentucky, did not confirm the arrest Monday.

Conn represented thousands in successful claims for Social Security benefits. He colluded with a bribed Social Security judge and doctors who certified disabilities in people they had not, in some cases, even seen.

"That's wonderful", said Donna Dye, whose husband was among Conn's clients in Appalachia. "There have been 1,500 hearings, approximately, and 800 of my clients are going without".