Eric Conn, lawyer who vanished, pleads not guilty to escape

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A Honduran SWAT team arrested Conn at a Pizza Hut in a coastal city of the country.

He is expected to be extradited back to the US on Tuesday.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, Conn was taken into custody without incident in La Ceiba, Honduras with assistance from the Agencia Tecnica de Investigaciones Criminales de Honduras (ATIC) and the FBI's Legal Attaché in San Salvador.

Conn was sentenced in absentia last summer to 12 years for stealing from the government and bribing a judge in a more than $500 million Social Security fraud case.

Conn pleaded guilty in March to charges of theft of government money and payment of gratuities, but fled in June, after he had been placed under house arrest with a Global Positioning System ankle monitor. He cut off his electronic ankle monitor and put it inside a metallic pouch created to suppress electronic signals, authorities said.

Conn has now begun serving the twelve year sentence he was given while still on the run. Curtis Lee Wyatt, later indicted on charges related to the escape, is accused of helping get a vehicle for Conn as well as testing border crossings on foot to ascertain the easiest point to cross into Mexico. They searched his former law office and his mother's house in Stanville, Kentucky. Police were reportedly alerted to his location after he connected to the restaurant's Wi-Fi.

Conn, wearing a blue polo shirt with close-cropped, reddish-gray hair, was led away in handcuffs by Honduran police agents with ballistic vests and assault rifles, and then turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which flew him home in a private plane.

Fugitive Eric Conn, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to defrauding Social Security for half a billion dollars, couldn't resist signing onto the internet while on the lam in Honduras.

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"That's wonderful", said Donna Dye, whose husband was among Conn's clients in Appalachia.

"They were extremely gratified that he was caught.from the standpoint of he's finally going to face the music", attorney Mark Wohlander said. "He let people like my husband have trust in him, and he let that down".

Eric Christopher Conn, 57, of Pikeville, Kentucky, and his alleged accomplice, Curtis Lee Wyatt, were charged in connection with Conn's escape in a seven-count indictment returned on September 6, 2017, in the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington. Conn is also charged with one count of escape and one count of failing to appear.

Conn, who started his law practice in a trailer in 1993, had portrayed himself as "Mr".

Conn represented thousands in successful claims for Social Security benefits.

But for hundreds of families in Eastern Kentucky and in West Virginia, the painful legacy of Conn's scam will linger for years. It's just been nothing but pain and struggle and worries.

"We look at his arrest as a game-changer", Pillersdorf said.

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