Prestonsburg, Kentucky — Some former clients of the disgraced Kentucky attorney who carried out the largest US Social Security fraud in history may have a chance at recovering their lost disability benefits.
An agreement with the Social Security Administration has allowed about 500 former clients of former disability attorney Eric Conn to request new hearings to restore their interests, attorney Ned Pillersdorf said in a statement. Pirsdorf and dozens of other attorneys have worked with former Cohn clients who lost profits after being accused of fraud.
Client lost benefits about 7 years ago.
Pillersdorf said Tuesday that the agreement was facilitated by several favorable federal court decisions. He said he believed a change in leadership at the Social Security Administration and a recent documentary about Conn helped move the deal forward.
He said there have been “many dark days” since Conn’s fraud came to light.
“Today the sun is shining in Appalachia.
After Conn’s fraud was exposed, about 1,700 of Conn’s former customers attended hearings and reapplied for benefits, but about half lost their applications. About 230 people who lost their benefits were able to regain their benefits years later by court order. The rest went years without government payments.
Mr Pirsdorf said the government will inform former Kon customers that they can request public hearings as part of the agreement. If they win the hearing, he said, they could get years of unpaid debt.
Conn bribed a doctor to falsify a client’s medical record and paid a judge to approve a lifetime benefit, officials said. He fled the country after making a plea bargain in 2017, and federal agents caught him six months later in Honduras.
His first plea bargain would have put him in prison for 12 years. After Conn’s arrest, a federal judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison in 2018 for what authorities called a plot to defraud the government of $500 million in disability benefits.