Eric Conn, the man who ran the largest Social Security fraud in American history has been captured in Honduras after six months on the run, according to a Honduran newspaper report.
, who was on the FBI’s list of most wanted fugitives, was nabbed by Honduran investigators in La Ceiba, according to El Heraldo. The newspaper said investigators had been tracking Conn for several weeks.
Conn is to be sent back to the US on Tuesday, the newspaper said.
He pleaded guilty earlier this year to orchestrating a massive fraud that saw more than 1,700 bogus Social Security disability applications filed and approved, totaling $600 million. Conn kept a stable of doctors and a psychologist on his payroll to draw up fake medical evaluations, and paid off a Social Security judge to approve the applications.
Conn was still out on bail while awaiting sentencing when he cut off his ankle monitoring device and fled, with the help of a henchman.
He was spotted heading to the US Mexico border, and told news outlets he had managed to escape the US, but the FBI over the summer said it doubted he’d actually left the country.
A man purporting to be Conn had bragged to outlets, including The Washington Times, about his ability to escape, and explaining his reasons.
The Honduran newspaper ran a photo of Conn surrounded by masked officers of the Technical Criminal Investigation Agency, which was the division that tracked him down.
Conn was sentenced in absentia in July to 12 years in prison, but authorities said at the time they would consider adding more charges based on his flight from custody.
Scott White, Conn’s lawyer, told Kentucky reporters that he hadn’t been contacted by the US government yet, and wasn’t sure what to make of the photo and reports from Honduras.
“Given the security situation in Honduras and the dangerous gangs operating there as has been reported as recently as the last few weeks in relation to its election, then who knows who these masked folks are, for whom they work, or if Eric has even been lawfully seized. Those may or may not be issues for either our courts or the Honduran courts,” he said.
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