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Local Judge, Lawyer Implicated in Disability Fraud Scheme

The Eric C. Conn Law Complex is an interesting place. From the photos and videos of the welded-together trailers, to the Lincoln Monument and Statue of Liberty replicas on the lot, the setting is reminiscent of every lawyer stereotype the rest of us laugh about. Uproxx calls him the "Real life Saul Goodman," which isn't too far off, except the whole criminal aspect.

Except, that's exactly what the federal government is calling him.

Earlier this week, a Congressional report implicated Conn and retired Administrative Law Judge David B. Daugherty in a Social Security disability scheme that processed thousands of claims in "assembly-line fashion. The report accuses Conn of using manufactured evidence in claims brought before Judge Daugherty, which were rubber stamped en masse by the now-retired judge, reports The Associated Press.

The Wall Street Journal Reports

As you might expect, Congress wasn't the first to catch on to the scheme. The Wall Street Journal, back in 2011, reported that the U.S. attorney in West Virginia was investigating the duo, after a series of articles by the Journal in 2010 highlighted the incredible success rate and quantity of claims handled by Conn and Daugherty.

According to the Journal, Daugherty approved all but four of 1,284 claims in 2010 and all but two of 1,003 claims in 2011 before he was put on leave. Judges typically award benefits in approximately 60 percent of cases.

The Profits

What was the bounty for these claims? In 2010, Conn was paid $3.8 million by the Social Security Administration, which pays attorneys directly when cases are successful. He ranked third in the nation.

The AP quotes the Congressional report, which notes that between 2003 and 2011, Judge Daugherty's bank records contained regular cash deposits totaling $69,800. The source was not disclosed in his financial disclosure reports. His daughter's bank records contain similar deposits, totaling $26,200.

Dear Pot: You're Black. Sincerely, Kettle.

Hilariously enough, when searching for Conn's name on the Internet, one finds two commercials: a hilarious "Monkey Business" bit (seriously, that might be the commercial that makes up for every bad lawyer commercial) and this one, which talks about Sen. Tom Coburn's request for an investigation into Binder & Binder's disability practice.

Binder & Binder is one of the few firms that out-earned Conn in social security payouts.

Sen. Coburn was a guest on 60 Minutes this past week, discussing, you guessed it, Conn's (alleged) con:

The highlights? Conn allegedly used friendly doctors, who would examine as many as twenty patients a day in Conn's law complex, and took their favorable reports to Daugherty, who approved nearly all of them.

No charges have yet been filed against either Conn or Judge Daugherty, though the Kentucky State bar is looking into the allegations against Conn, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Conn has denied any wrongdoing.

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