December 5, 2017 / 4:31 AM / a year ago

Honduras arrests Kentucky lawyer sought in $550-million disability fraud scheme

Agents of the Technical Criminal Investigation Agency (ATIC) escort Kentucky attorney Eric Christopher Conn, 57, wanted by the FBI over his role in a disability fraud scheme, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

(Reuters) - Authorities in Honduras on Monday arrested a Kentucky attorney who had pleaded guilty to charges over his role in a more than $550 million disability fraud scheme, months after he fled U.S. law enforcement, Honduran officials said.

Kentucky-born Eric Conn, 57, who was on the most wanted list of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, was arrested in the coastal city of La Ceiba as he left a restaurant, the Honduran public ministry office said in a statement.

The arrest came less than five months after a U.S. district judge in Lexington, Kentucky, sentenced him in absentia to 12 years in prison.

A spokesman for the FBI declined to comment.

The Honduran equivalent of American special weapons and tactics officers made the arrest, the ministry office added.

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 GPS ankle monitor.

The ankle monitor was found in Lexington, along a road in a backpack, the FBI’s most wanted page said.

A truck Conn is believed to have used during his escape was discovered in New Mexico near the border with Mexico, the FBI said in July.

Conn, a resident of Pikeville, Kentucky, participated in a scheme between 2004 and 2016 that involved submitting thousands of falsified medical documents to the U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. prosecutors have said.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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