Ten years ago, two case technicians for the Social Security Administration in Huntington noticed something they apparently weren't supposed to notice: that an SSA appeals judge, also in Huntington, habitually was approving the disability claims made by clients of a particular attorney.

They informed their superiors, but nothing happened. Eventually, they filed a whistleblower lawsuit, but all that did was antagonize the SSA bosses, who retaliated by making things uncomfortable for them at the office.

You'd think a boss would appreciate diligent employees and reward them for spotting and attempting to root out possible fraud. He might take credit for it himself, of course, as bosses often do, but, still, he would appreciate it and respond appropriately.

Whoever these superiors are, they may now wish they'd responded differently. That's because the wily attorney and obliging judge that they covered up for 10 years ago finally are being brought to justice, and someone may be curious why these same superiors did nothing to stop the fraud when it was first brought to their attention.

The attorney who finally has been arrested and charged with defrauding the federal government of more than $600 million is the aptly named Eric Conn. “Mr. Social Security,” he called himself, when times were good (for him).

His accomplice, the obliging SSA appeals judge, is David B. Daugherty.

Conn allegedly falsified medical documents to support his clients' bogus disability claims.

Daugherty maneuvered to get Conn’s cases assigned to him and was rewarded handsomely for his success.

Daugherty's fellow judges at the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Huntington reported numerous times that Daugherty would sign in early in the morning, disappear from the office all day, and return at night to sign out. Apparently, no one followed through on the reports, and this obvious dereliction of duty was allowed to continue.

Conn and Daugherty should get what's coming to them, as should everyone involved in this long-running fraud.

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