FLOYD COUNTY, KY (WOWK) — After nearly seven years, the former clients of Eric Conn, an attorney convicted of conducting the largest social security fraud scheme in history, are eligible to have their benefits reinstated, but only if they request a hearing.
The attorneys who won the class action lawsuit held their second meeting on Thursday and they are still trying to get ahold of the “Forgotten 500.”
Conn, 63, was convicted of running the largest U.S. Social Security scam in history. According to the Associated Press, he was hiding in Honduras and was captured by a SWAT team as he was coming out of a La Ceiba Pizza Hut in December 2017. They reported that he had spent months on the run after he cut off his electronic monitoring device and fled in June 2017.
His initial plea agreement, the Associated Press said, would’ve put him behind bars for 12 years, but after being captured, a federal judge sentenced him to an additional 15 years. He pleaded guilty to bribing doctors to falsify medical records and then paying a judge to approve lifetime disability benefits, the AP reported.
More than 1,800 people lost their social security benefits when they were accused of being affiliated with Conn’s scheme.
Only around 100 people have requested a hearing to have their benefits reinstated, and Attorney Ned Pillersdorf says they are trying to reach more saying even just sending that request can get their benefits back while they wait.
Pillersdorf says sending in the forms presented in a letter they receive from the Social Security Administration will allow many to have their benefits reinstated while waiting for the hearing.
He says he is afraid that the former clients will get that letter, and be too scared to send in a request or throw it away.
Edith Muncy is one of those who recently had her hearing taking advantage of voluntary legal help from the organization, Apple Red. She is encouraging others to do the same.
“Don’t give up, do not give up. Get your records, whatever records you can get ahold of,” Muncy said on Thursday.
Those who win their case will receive backpay for all missed payments over the last seven years.
New hearings are expected in 2024. Free legal help can be found through the Apple Red organization at 866-277-5733.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.