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

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

Eric Christopher Conn, 57, of Pikeville, Kentucky, and his alleged accomplice, Curtis Lee Wyatt, were charged in connection with Conn's escape in a seven-count indictment returned on September 6, 2017, in the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington. "They've taken away benefits from about 800 people".

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 attorney, Scott White, entered a not guilty plea to those charges during the hearing.

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

Conn pleaded guilty in March to charges of theft of government money and payment of gratuities, but fled in June, after he had been placed under house arrest with a Global Positioning System ankle monitor. While almost a dozen law enforcement agencies searched for the fugitive, he was sentenced in absentia last summer to a 12-year prison term - the maximum possible.

"He's obviously sad that he's back here in the sense of having to deal with this stuff that he thought he had put behind him", White said.

He will stand trial for these new charges in February.

Cronan of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Amy S. Hess of the FBI's Louisville, Kentucky Field Division and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General's (SSA-OIG) Philadelphia Field Division made the announcement.

The same indictment claims Conn hatched his escape plot around June 2016, two months after he was first indicted and a year before his disappearance.

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

Ned Pillersdorf, an attorney representing many of Conn's former clients, has said Conn caused a "true humanitarian crisis".

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

"We look at his arrest as a game-changer", Pillersdorf said.

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