Fugitive's flight from justice ends at Honduras Pizza Hut

Photo shows Eric Conn at a Pizza Hut in Honduras where he was arrested Dec. 2. (Courtesy of FBI)

Eric Christopher Conn is now in police custody after FBI officials said he was captured Saturday at a Honduras Pizza Hut.

Conn, 57, the former Kentucky disability lawyer who admitted to cheating the federal government out of more than $550 million, fled the country in June after he cut off his electronic monitoring device.

The FBI is considering this the largest Social Security fraud case in the program's history.

"Our investigation revealed that over a 10-year period, attorney Eric C. Conn, Social Security administrator of law judge David B. Daugherty, clinical psychologist Alfred B. Adkins, and others, conspired to have disability benefits awarded to more than 1,700 claimants, regardless of their statue," said Amy Hess, special agent in charge of FBI's Louisville field office, during a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Lexington, Ky. "These fraudulent submissions would have exceeded $550 million in lifetime benefits for the Social Security administration."

Hess revealed that Conn was captured and arrested without incident Dec. 2 at a Pizza Hut in La Ceiba, Honduras with assistance from the FBI's legal attache in San Salvador and Agencia Técnica de Investigación Criminal (ATIC).

"Since Mr. Conn's escape, the FBI has been working diligently with numerous agencies to find Mr. Conn and bring him back to Kentucky," Hess said. "We pursued all investigative avenues. We interviewed dozens of people, to include Mr. Conn's family, friends and associates. We employed various technical capabilities. We reviewed emails and social media posts reportedly originating from Mr. Conn. We conducted analysis of his finances and bank accounts. We conducted physical surveillance. We searched his former law office , vehicle and the residence of his mother in Stanville, Ky., and we offered a reward for information leading directly to his arrest."

Conn, Daugherty and Adkins were all indicted in April 2016.

After negotiations, Conn pleaded guilty to theft of government property and payment of illegal gratuities. He agreed to the forfeiture of $5.7 million in fees and $46.5 million restitution to the Social Security administration. While he awaited sentencing, Conn was released from custody under the conditions that he must wear an electronic monitoring device and stay at his home with the exception of pre-approved outings.

Conn removed the device in June and he could not be located.

In July, the FBI traced Conn to New Mexico, where he was spotted on surveillance video at a gas station and Walmart.

In October, Conn was indicted by a federal grand jury on conspiracy to escape, escape, conspiracy to failure to appear and failure to appear. An associate of Conn's also was indicted at that time for conspiracy to escape; instigating, aiding and assisting escape; conspiracy to fail to appear; aiding and abetting failure to appear and making false statements.

Conn is expected to arrive in Kentucky Tuesday afternoon. Hess said he will appear in court "sometime soon" to face his remaining charges.

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