Eric Conn, who pleaded guilty earlier in March to bribing a former administrative law judge and being involved in a Social Security scheme that defrauded the federal government of nearly $600 million in disability payments, disappeared in June ahead of his sentencing and his expected testimony against a co-defendant in the case.
Conn’s electronic monitoring device—a GPS tracker on his ankle—was cut off on June 2 and subsequently located in a backpack on the side of I-75 in Lexington, Kentucky. The GPS device in the backpack was found wrapped inside a metallic substance used to interfere with its signal. But on Tuesday, the long arm of the law caught up to Conn.
According to Honduran news reports, Conn was recently captured by a national police SWAT team after eating at a Pizza Hut in the coastal city of La Ceiba. Honduran police, who had been tracking Conn for weeks, reportedly located him after he logged on to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi.
The FBI, which had offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to Conn’s arrest, confirmed his capture Tuesday and said he was poised to be deported from Honduras back to the U.S. The FBI had released photos over the summer of Conn in New Mexico, where he headed before fleeing to Mexico and Guatemala. Law enforcement officials believe Conn spent at least the past three months in Honduras.
Conn’s lawyers, T. Scott White and Sarah Hays of Fogle Keller Walker in Lexington, did not return requests for comment about their client. Conn was once also represented by Abbe Lowell, a high-profile litigation partner at now-defunct Chadbourne & Parke, which this summer was absorbed into Norton Rose Fulbright.
Lowell, currently advising President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in special counsel Robert Mueller III’s Russia probe, represented Conn as he prepared to face trial in 2016. Lowell was also at Conn’s side in 2013 when his former client invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when testifying before Congress about disability payments fraud.
Conn, who ran The Conn Law Firm in Pikeville and Stanville, Kentucky, where he earned the nickname “Mr. Social Security,” in part due to his off-the-wall local television commercials, is currently listed as suspended from practicing law in the commonwealth. He had previously been disbarred from practicing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans in 2002.