Apr 4, 2016

Eric Conn Arrested

     From WSAZ:
Disability attorney Eric Conn, who has faced accusations of colluding with a judge to rig Social Security cases, is in custody Monday night in the Pike County Detention Center, according to the jail’s website. 
Conn is being held for U.S. Marshals, the jail reports. 
He was booked at 7:15 p.m. Monday. No bond has been set. 
The charges against Conn are conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, destruction of records in a federal investigation, false statements, transactional money laundering, and conspiracy to structure currency transactions.
     Update: Here's a link to the indictment. David Daugherty and Alfred Adkins were also indicted.It's alleged that Conn was giving former ALJ Daugherty $9,000 to $9,500 per month in cash. If that's accurate, both Conn and Daugherty were amazingly stupid but if that's what they did, I don't understand why it took so long to indict.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am surprised there aren't any comments on this. There used to be a fair amount of chatter about Cohn being punished without even being charged...

Anonymous said...

Ex ALJ Daugherty also indicted

Anonymous said...

He'll probably get better treatment through the legal system than his claimants who have potential "fraud" are getting from SSA. At least he will have due process.

Anonymous said...

There was a fair amount of chatter about Conn's former clients being punished (benefits being cut off) even though he hadn't even been charged. I'm sure there is still going to be concern about these clients.

Anonymous said...

Cue the knee jerk reactions to:
1. Eliminate attorney fee withholding.
2. Provide more funding to continuing disability reviews.
3. Strip away any remaining shred of autonomy and discretion held by Administrative Law Judges.

Anonymous said...

So does this mean that Chief Judge Andrus who knew what was going on, chose not to stop it, and participated in the videotaping of a federal employee (per his own admission) is off the hook entirely?

Anonymous said...

This may be a criminal indictment of three men who conspired to defraud the federal treasury. But it is also an indictment of SSA upper level management who were in place while the alleged crimes took place. Simply put, there was gross malfeasance at the regional and national (i.e. Glenn Sklar)levels of ODAR. Management oversight was lacking. They either knew or should have known what was happening, but chose to look the other way due to pressures to "lower the backlog."

Anonymous 42 said...

Maybe SSA will finally disqualify Conn

Anonymous said...

6:26 pretty much nails it. SSA apparently failed to investigate Daugherty despite complaints to SSA and its Inspector General. There is no suggestion in the indictment that any of Conn's clients had knowledge of what, if anything nefarious, Conn was doing. It is safe to say that most, if not all, believed that they were disabled. In fact, many have succeeded in keeping their benefits despite the grossly unfair process instituted by SSA.

Conn and company may have been criminal, stupid, lazy, or a combination of the three, but SSA was ultimately responsible for policing Daugherty and it failed miserably. To cover its backside it implemented a hybrid Star Chamber/kangaroo court proceeding to satisfy the masses. You can try to cast Conn's former clients as some sort of cheats, but there is no glory in raking desperate, disabled people over the coals.

Anonymous said...

What about Astrue and his management staff, who knew or should have known what was going on? weren't they giving out big awards for high case production while ignoring whistleblower complaints until the Wall Street Journal finally blew the lid on this?

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that Sklar et al consciously thought, "Oh, something smells in Huntington, but I am going to ignore it because I want numbers, numbers, numbers." They were simply asleep at the wheel, too asleep to smell anything. Andrus is another animal altogether. Would he collude w the dirty lawyer to sic a PI on the whistleblower unless he needed to cover his own behind? And would he need to cover his behind if no $$ passes thru his hands?

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Anonymous said...

I don't find it hard to believe at all...All the Agency cared about under Astrue (and still) was numbers and anybody who produced them, no matter how, was held up to the rest of us as shining examples. They chose not to look deeper and should be held accountable as well. Just this week we were asked in my office to report falsely that a hearing was held when the case was actually postponed to fix a statistic that regional management doesn't like, and after I refused I thought, have we learned nothing from W.Va.?

Anonymous said...

We are always asked in my office to look away or do not put out something stat wise that is negative on a component.

Anonymous said...

FINALLY ... if I was either of these guys I would have retired an left the country a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

So the ALJ was only getting about $9000 per month so a little over $100K per year.

Not sure if that would be worth it. Know ALJs only make from 125-175K/year but wow what a risk.

Daugherty must have been strapped for cash and/or greedy.

Anonymous said...

6:26 PM, April 05, 2016, stated, "This may be a criminal indictment of three men who conspired to defraud the federal treasury. But it is also an indictment of SSA upper level management who were in place while the alleged crimes took place. Simply put, there was gross malfeasance at the regional and national (i.e. Glenn Sklar)levels of ODAR. Management oversight was lacking. They either knew or should have known what was happening, but chose to look the other way due to pressures to "lower the backlog." AND

6:34 AM, April 06, 2016, stated, "I don't find it hard to believe at all...All the Agency cared about under Astrue (and still) was numbers and anybody who produced them, no matter how, was held up to the rest of us as shining examples. They chose not to look deeper and should be held accountable as well. Just this week we were asked in my office to report falsely that a hearing was held when the case was actually postponed to fix a statistic that regional management doesn't like, and after I refused I thought, have we learned nothing from W.Va.?"

These two comments hit the nail on the head with the hammer! They are absolutely correct. Although high level ODAR manager's have recently tried to talk a good game about quality and initiated a quality review process, it is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. In my nearly 3 decades with ODAR, "numbers, numbers, numbers" has been all that truly matters and quality an afterthought, at best. Statistics are frequently manipulated in order to make it appear more decisions are going out the door than what actually are. This has been going on for years, at least the near 3 decades since I started. All the performance awards, QSI's, promotions, and other perks are given to those with the "highest production numbers." The only exceptions are "favorites." With regard to conspiracy and cover-up of alleged crimes among the highest officials in the Agency, this is standard operating procedure, and is happening right now, e.g. Colvin keeping her top power even if Eanes is confirmed in order to protect certain employees and "favorites" who have engaged in misconduct and criminal acts from being held accountable and make sure it is swept under the rug.

Anonymous said...

I'm hesitant to point fingers beyond those directly involved in any wrongdoing. They were caught, right? Even that assumes the Feds will prove their case which is not yet done. At worst we are looking at a very few bad fish in a large sea of reps and ALJs, most of whom behave ethically and work hard to serve the people with disabilities that the program is there to help.

Damian Leone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@5:45 pm
$9000 per month is all the Feds currently can prove likely went to Daugherty. Tip of the iceberg.

@6:44 pm
Please don't provide the excuse for the HOCALJ & HOD that it was all numbers, numbers, numbers to them. It was money, money, money.



Anonymous said...

The anonymous writer who mentions Glenn Sklar by name is uninformed. Glenn came to ODAR not long before this blew up in 2011. Along with a lot of hard working SSA employees Glenn deserves tremendous credit for cleaning up the mess. He did not cause any of it.

Anonymous said...

What did Sklar clean up? SSA management did nothing until the WSJ articles embarrassed them. Then they suspended only those they were forced to, to make a show. Then there was this big show about quality. All smoke and mirrors. The ones who deserve the tremendous credit were the whistleblowers in that office, the ones who were ignored for years. Trying to remember what happened to them, and please correct me if I am wrong, wasn't there a lawsuit and I don't recall the Agency ever conceding that they were right and the Agency was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Glen cleaned up a mess that was made right under his nose, correct?

Glen Sklar became ODAR DC in January 2010. According to the Senate staff report, while Sklar was in charge, ALJ Daugherty in 2010 decided 1375 cases, awarding benefits in 1371 of those cases, and in 2011, Daugherty decided 1003 cases, awarding benefits in 1001 of those cases.

By May 2011 - a year and a half after Glen took charge - the WSJ figured out what was going on in the Huntington office and published its article. If a journalist could figure it out, why couldn't Glen? Was Glen too focused on low producing ALJs?

Bottom line seems to be that the Wall Street Journal had to do the job that ODAR management failed to do. numbers numbers numbers. Even the SSA definition of quality is numbers.

Anonymous said...

It's disgusting that no management has been indicted for this. Why? As long as the decision-makers aren't held accountable, the cycle of retaliation and abuse will continue.

Anonymous said...

Lol, not until the disbarment or conviction!

Anonymous said...

$9k a month in tax free money is huge--lifechanging. It's way more than he was taking home from his super high paying ALJ job. How rich are you to poo poo that amount of money, ha!