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Ex-Fugitive Attorney Eric Conn Pleads Not Guilty - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Ex-Fugitive Attorney Eric Conn Pleads Not Guilty

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Federal authorities arrived Tuesday night at Blue Grass Airport with ex-attorney Eric C. Conn, six months after he cut off his ankle monitor here and went on the lam. On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to several new charges.

Earlier Tuesday, FBI agents released more details about the pursuit and capture of the convicted Social Security fraudster. Conn's arrest was first announced Monday evening by authorities in Honduras, where he was taken into custody.

Conn was convicted in a Social Security scheme that defrauded the government out of at least $550 million. In June, he cut off his ankle monitor while free on bail before sentencing and fled the country. A co-worker has been charged with helping to plot Conn's escape and tested border crossings.

The FBI had been looking for Conn for about six months.

His ankle monitor was found discarded on Interstate Highway 75 when he was allegedly coming to consult with his attorney about testifying in the trial of a co-conspirator.

After Conn fled, federal agents spotted him on surveillance videos at a gas station and at a Walmart in New Mexico, near where indicted co-conspirator Curtis Lee Wyatt had previously tested border crossings.

Wyatt, of Raccoon, Ky., is accused of conspiring with Conn on his escape. An indictment said that in late April Wyatt crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz., and Columbus, N.M., to check security measures.

Conn was captured Saturday while eating in a Pizza Hut in La Ceiba. Investigators trailed Conn to the Central American country and monitored his behavior. He was peacefully taken into custody without incident.

LEX 18 spoke with Scott White, Conn's attorney, shortly after Conn's arrival Tuesday night.

White says he heard from his client via email several times but was surprised Conn was in Honduras.

"I guess it was about two and a half weeks ago. I got a nice email from him. And responded to him by email. I don't know if he ever got it. But was certainly good to hear from him and know that he was safe."

White came out of the courthouse after Conn's not guilty plea to four new charges related to the escape. The charges include conspiracy to escape, a substantive escape charge, conspiracy to fail to appear, and substantive crime for failure to appear. If convicted, Conn could spend an estimated 20 years in prison. 

As he came outside he carried one single box of Conn's belongings. Inside the box, he told LEX 18, were a few clothes and the equivalent of $20 worth of Honduran Lempira.

A trial date has been set for February 12 at 9 a.m.   

The US government will likely bring back all the charges it dropped in his plea deal, so Conn could possibly face a life sentence, according to his lawyer.

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