By Steve Bittenbender
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) - A Kentucky lawyer, a former administrative law judge and a psychologist were indicted for conspiring to commit more than $600 million in disability fraud by submitting phony medical papers, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday.
Eric Christopher Conn, a lawyer based in Stanville - about 130 miles east of Lexington - faces 18 counts, including three counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering after his indictment by a grand jury for the U.S. District Court in Lexington, Kentucky.
Conn, whose website is mrsocialsecurity.com, could not be reached at his office number and no attorney was listed in court documents. The attorney for Conn in a previous federal lawsuit could not be reached for comment.
David Black Daugherty, who according to court documents served as an administrative law judge for 21 years, was charged with three counts each of mail fraud and wire fraud, along with two counts of conspiracy. Alfred Adkins, of Pikeville, also was charged with three counts each of mail and wire fraud, two counts of giving false statements and a count of conspiracy.
Adkins provided contractual psychological services for Conn, according to court documents.
The three men, along with three unindicted co-conspirators sought to make money for themselves by submitting phony medical documentation to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits of more than $600 million, according to court documents. The false documents led to people getting retroactive disability benefits and Medicare and Medicaid benefits, according to court documents.
Conn also received fees to represent his clients, who lived primarily in four eastern Kentucky counties, according to court documents.
Daugherty and Adkins could not be reached for comment.
Conn and Adkins were scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon. Federal officials could not be reached to determine their status, but Adkins was given his conditional release according to court documents.
David Habich, a spokesman for the FBI in Louisville, said the three men had been taken into custody after the indictment, but he did not know if they remained in custody on Tuesday.
Last year, a federal judge partly dismissed a fraud lawsuit against Conn after she ruled whistleblowers did not produce sufficient proof that the claims were fraudulent.
The three unindicted co-conspirators were identified as two doctors and an office manager for Conn, according to court documents.
(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender; Editing by Ben Klayman and Bernard Orr)