Eric C. Conn Disappears Before Disability Fraud Sentence

The locals called him Mr. Social Security. He drove a Rolls Royce and sat on the United States Social Security Advisory Board. His televisions commercials were almost legendary in Pikeville, Kentucky.

Today, he’s nowhere to be found. Law enforcement is looking for Eric C. Conn, the once-hailed Pikeville attorney. In March, he pleaded guilty to charges relating to a Social Security fraud scheme that cost taxpayers $500 million.

Conn awaited his upcoming sentence on bond but had to wear an electronic monitoring device. As of June 3, 2017, law enforcement has no idea where Conn is. He removed his electronic device and disappeared.

The charges against Conn include stealing from Social Security and bribing a judge to approve disability claims for his clients. He faces twelve years in prison if police ever catch up with him and possibly new charges for running from justice. As part of the plea he agreed to pay $5.7 million to the U.S. government and another $46 million directly to Social Security. He also owes another $12 million and $19 million in damages and penalties because of two Social Security employees who tried to blow the whistle.

Conn’s con used a doctor who agreed to create bad medical reports for his clients. Then, the judge signed off on the fraudulent applications for a cut of the action. The judge and doctor face charges, too. Suffice it to say that Conn’s legal practice, which he began in 1993, is over.

State’s attorney Ned Pillersdorf says it’s not surprising that Conn fled. He expressed surprise that the court allowed him bond in the first place. He even joked about a betting pool as to when Conn would depart.

A coworker of Conn’s reported that Conn said he would head to Cuba or Ecuador rather than go to prison. He had a history of world traveling that the state’s attorney believed made him a flight risk. Conn also moved money to offshore accounts before taking off. U.S. attorneys believe that Conn has the money to hide for a long time.

Conn’s attorneys successfully secured his bond by convincing the court that Conn would have fled when charges were first filed if he was going to flee at all. Conn bragged in his advertising he doesn’t back down from a fight. Today, he’s on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for white-collar crime.

Sources: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ghost-ship-warehouse-fire-defendant-near-mental-breakdown-lawyer-says-n770551

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/lawyer_disappears_while_awaiting_sentencing_in_550m_disability_fraud_scheme/?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=navigation&utm_campaign=most_read

Federal Lawsuit Pending as Crude Oil Flows from Dakota Access Pipeline

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is North Dakota has been protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline for months. The tribe has reservations and water sources lying downstream from the pipeline and fear that leakage could endanger their way of life.

The lawsuit that the Sioux Native American tribe filed in federal court is still pending. The tribe is asking for a federal judge to step in and shut down future extraction from the Dakota Access Pipeline, but so far the lawsuit is still pending.

The extraction of crude oil and transportation through the pipeline has been delayed over the last few months. The most contentious area of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the protesters has been the closing stretch of the pipeline that lied near the Missouri River. More than 700 total protesters have been arrested over the course of the many months that the protests raged.

Native Americans and environmentalist groups have squared off against a variety of oil partners looking to move the crude oil from Stanley, North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco Logistics Partners, Enbridge, Phillips 66, and Marathon Petroleum are all partners in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Construction on the pipeline started in 2016, and extraction and transportation of the crude oil just started.

The Dakota Access Pipeline’s viability was helped along by President Trump. Overturning a call made by the Obama administration, President Trump decided to speed up the approval process for contentious sections of the pipeline in order to bring the Dakota Access Pipeline project to fulfillment.

Native Americans from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe still feel as though their water sources and sacred grounds could be endangered if the pipeline starts to leak. Although some leaks have already been reported, leaks just far have been minor and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s water sources are not known to be imperiled.

The federal lawsuit calling for a shut down of extraction and transportation of the crude oil is still pending in federal court. In the meantime, a federal judge in March of this year denied a motion for preliminary injunction that would have delayed construction on the final stretch of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

One of the oil partners associated with the pipeline – Energy Transfer Partners – found that the pipeline is more environmentally conscious that sending the same crude oil by train or truck. The federal lawsuit is still pending.

Muslim Students Temporarily Barred from Entering Public Courtroom

A New York judge briefly barred a group of Muslim students from entering a public courtroom.

Judge Katherine Forrest of the US Southern District Court of New York stopped the trial upon the arrival of 16 students dressed in uniforms and hijabs (head coverings) from the Razi School, an Islamic private school in Queens. The judge called the student’s presence “gamesmanship” and held a conference with the trial lawyers while the students were forced to remain outside the court.

The unusual incident occurred last week at a civil trial of U.S. government against the Alavi Foundation. The U.S. government alleges that 650 Fifth Avenue, an office tower which is 60% owned by the Alavi Foundation, is clandestinely owned by the Iranian government.

Judge Forrest expressed concern that the presence of the Muslim students was a ploy by Alavi’s attorney, John Gleeson, to garner undue sympathy with the jury.

“The judge is out of line here,” said Sayyed Musawi, a social studies teacher at Razi who chaperoned the Muslim students. According to the Associated Press, Musawi said he convinced the school to approve the field trip in order to provide a venue for his students to better learn about the legal system. He denied knowing the lawyers in the case. He also said he was not trying to sway the jury in any way on behalf of the Alavi Foundation.

The students, including some who had participated in mock court sessions, were told that the judge was allowing them into the public courtroom.

“We were shocked,” said Eman Osman, the other social studies teacher. Osman said the students were very disappointed not to allowed into the courtroom.

Attorneys representing the U. S. government reminded the judge that it was a public courtroom and they were not opposed to having the students enter the courtroom.

After the lunch recess, the judge allowed the youngsters into court, all ten girls with white head scarves which are part of the private school’s uniform.

The U.S. Government is pressing for forfeiture of 650 Fifth Avenue and the trial has been contentious. Last week, Judge Forrest publicly scolded a former judge for making statements in court which she considered politically charged.

Have You Been Ordered to Use an Ignition Interlock Device?

If you have been ordered to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car because of a DUI, did you know that you can choose which device to have installed based on a number of options available, all approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? You must beware, however, as the state does not regulate fees for installation and maintenance, which means companies that provide these services can charge anything they like.

This doesn’t mean you have no control. You can still make the best of a not-so-desirable situation. With a little research, you can make the choice that is right for you. Here are some of the fees to ask about when choosing an IID.

Installation and Monitoring Fees

Depending on your location, fees for monitoring an ignition interlock device can vary. You can expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $200. These fees can include the cost for downloading software and updates. Having a luxury vehicle or a difficult installation can prolong the procedure and drive up fees even more.

Monthly Rental Fee

You do not own the IID, which means that you will have to pay anywhere between $50 and $100.

  • Often, companies that provide monthly fees will waive installation costs. You won’t know if you don’t ask.

You will need to calibrate your ignition interlock device periodically.

This is important, as a device that is left to decalibrate could register false positives. In plain English, the device could think you are not fit to drive even though you had one drink three hours before you blew. California law requires that you do not go more than sixty days without calibrating. However, different manufacturers have different specifications, and may recommend a monthly calibration appointment. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that six times a year is better than twelve times a year.

Violation Fee

IID manufacturers realize that some drivers who know that they are in violation may get a friend to blow into the device and start the car for them. They’ve safeguarded against this possibility by installing a random “running retest” function in the device. This means that the device will without warning ask you to blow into it while you are in the middle of driving, or else run the risk of shutting down. If you blow an unacceptable level, this constitutes a violation. Some manufactures will charge you for every violation. Some have a flat rate. Others have rates dependent on the time of violation–that is, whether they have to reset after hours.

Removal fee

They charged you for putting it in, they might charge you for taking it out too.

  • It is also important to remember that some devices are more sensitive than others. Ask the manufacturer if any other substance on the breath (e.g. mouthwash, breath mints, etc.) is capable of registering a false positive.

It’s no picnic having to drive around with an Ignition Interlock Device

The unexpected breakdown of your vehicle, an accident, or any other pitfall only makes matters more difficult. Nevertheless, understanding your right to choose the device that best suits your bank account can make all the difference in the world.