Accomplice to fugitive attorney fraudster pleads guilty in Kentucky

by Ben Vernia | April 3rd, 2018

On March 30, the Department of Justice announced that Curtis Wyatt had pleaded guilty to conspiring with a disbarred attorney to flee from the United States shortly before he was to be sentenced. The attorney, Eric C. Conn, was a defendant in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by the Vernia Law Firm, Wohlander Law, and Wallingford Law on behalf of two former Social Security Administration employees who alleged that Conn conspired with an SSA Administrative Law Judge, David B. Daugherty, to defraud the government by approving disability appeals on fraudulent grounds. According to DOJ’s press release:

An Eastern Kentucky man pleaded guilty today for his role in assisting a former Social Security disability lawyer escape from federal custody.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge Amy S. Hess of the FBI’s Louisville, Kentucky Field Division and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General’s (SSA-OIG) Philadelphia Field Division made the announcement.

Curtis Lee Wyatt, 48, of Raccoon, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to escape from custody before U.S. District Judge Danny C. Reeves of the Eastern District of Kentucky.  Sentencing has been scheduled for June 29, before Judge Reeves.

In September 2017, Wyatt was charged in a seven-count indictment with conspiracy to escape, instigating and assisting escape, conspiracy to commit failure to appear, aiding and abetting failure to appear, and making false statements to the FBI in connection with his role in assisting former Social Security disability lawyer Eric Christopher Conn escape from federal custody. The indictment alleges that Conn, while on home confinement after pleading guilty to two federal offenses but before being sentenced, escaped from custody by severing an electronic monitoring device from his ankle during a court-approved visit to Lexington, Kentucky on June 2, 2017, and fled to the Mexican border.  According to the indictment, Conn ultimately failed to appear for his sentencing hearing on July 14, 2017.

As part of his guilty plea, Wyatt admitted that he conspired with Conn to escape from custody by, in the months prior to Conn’s escape, assessing security measures at various pedestrian checkpoints along the United States-Mexican border and advising Conn of whether identification was checked upon exiting the United States.  Wyatt further admitted that on the day prior to Conn’s escape, he provided Conn with a Faraday bag for the purpose of suppressing the signal emitted from Conn’s electronic monitoring device, as well as with an escape vehicle that Wyatt had previously purchased with cash, registered in Montana and secreted in a parking garage in Pikeville, Kentucky.

Conn is scheduled to proceed to trial on the escape charges on June 11, 2018 in Lexington before Judge Reeves.

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