Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson has uncovered billions of dollars of fraud and waste. Perhaps we need a contest to see which Trump official can find the the most. Our bet would be the Defense Department would win, but then again perhaps Social Security would come in near the top. Such is the state of affairs that have been left by the derelict Obama administration, and to be fair, some of its predecessors.
Social Security is a particularly sensitive issue because it directly impacts those who are considered less likely to be able to earn a livable wage, either due to advancing years, being orphaned, or afflicted with a disability. Unlike other benefit programs, employees and their employers actually pay into this fund from our wages, as we all painfully know, with the idea that benefits will be there if and when needed.
Hence, when fraud exists in Social Security, money has been stolen from those workers who have paid into the fund. And it just happened in a big way as Attorney Eric Conn, who pleaded guilty to stealing almost $600 million from Social Security, has now disappeared and perhaps is in Cuba.
“Former disability lawyer Eric Conn slipped his ankle monitor and disappeared Saturday, two months after pleading guilty to a $600 million Social Security fraud scheme that brought down a psychologist and a judge.
“Conn, who made a name for himself promising to get his Floyd County, Ky., clients the best disability and social security payments, pleaded guilty March 24 to defrauding the Social Security Administration of $550 million. He was released on bond to await sentencing July 14, according to the Department of Justice.
“Conn’s ‘whereabouts are currently unknown’ according to David Habich, general counsel for FBI’s Louisville, Ky., office, The Washington Post reports.
“Employees at Conn’s office told the FBI the fugitive may have fled to Cuba, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.”
He’s a slippery character, isn’t he? First, he defrauded the SSA out of $550 million, then he disappeared, possibly with some of his ill gotten gains. Possibly to some nation that does not have an extradition treaty with the US.
Who let this guy out on bail? It’s not funny, but there was even a betting pool over when he’d skip the country. Somebody knew something that clearly eluded the judge who turned him loose pending sentencing.
“‘It was totally predictable that he would flee’ said attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who represents some of Conn’s former clients. ‘I was always shocked that, when he was arrested, he was actually allowed out on bond. And there has been a betting pool going on in Prestonsburg [Kentucky] on not if he would flee, but when.’”
The tragedy here is that people, some of whom are truly disabled and have valid claims for disability insurance benefits, are suffering. It’s not like someone gets rich on what a disability settlement pays.
In any event, the crook has flown the coop, and we’re out almost $600 million. Perhaps there’s now a betting pool going on over where he’ll turn up.