An eastern Kentucky disability lawyer scheduled to be sentenced next month for defrauding the government of nearly $600 million has disappeared, reports the AP. Eric Conn pleaded guilty in March to stealing from the federal government and bribing a judge. He was scheduled to be sentenced next month and had been ordered to pay the government tens of millions of dollars. But Saturday, the FBI said Conn removed his electronic monitoring device, violating the conditions of his bond and prompting the US District Court to issue a warrant for his arrest. David Habich, general counsel for the FBI's Louisville office, said Conn's "whereabouts are currently unknown."
Conn started his law practice in a trailer in 1993 and built it into one of the most lucrative disability law firms in the country. He created a persona for himself as "Mr. Social Security," fueled by outlandish TV commercials and small-scale replicas of the Statute of Liberty and the Lincoln Memorial at his office in rural eastern Kentucky. But Conn's empire crumbled when federal investigators uncovered he had been bribing a doctor and a judge to approve disability claims based on fake medical evidence. "It was totally predictable that he would flee," said attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who represents Conn's former clients. "And there has been a betting pool going on in Prestonsburg on not if he would flee, but when." (Read more disappearance stories.)