West Virginia Record

Friday, January 24, 2020

Former judge pleads guilty for retaliation

By Kyla Asbury | Jun 15, 2016

Law money 09

HUNTINGTON – A former Social Security chief administrative law judge has pleaded guilty on June 13 in a Kentucky federal court for conspiring to retaliate against an SSA employee who provided information on potential corruption and fraud.

Charlie Paul Andrus was a Huntington administrative law judge for nearly 28 years. He was the chief administrative law judge at the Huntington hearing office at the time Eric C. Conn and Judge David B. Daugherty were accused of fraudulent conduct involving Social Security disability claims.

In 2011, Andrus was demoted from his position as chief administrative law judge after The Wall Street Journal published an article critical of the Huntington hearing office and a criminal investigation occurred in the office. He retired in 2012.

Andrus pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to retaliate against Sarah Carver, one of two whistleblowers at the Huntington hearing office, according to the June 13 court documents.

The statutory punishment for the count of conspiracy to retaliate against an informant is imprisonment for not more than ten years, a fine not more than $250,000 and a term of supervised release of not more than three years, according to Andrus’ plea agreement, which was filed on June 13. He pleaded guilty without an indictment.

“I understand that I have been accused of an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year,” Andrus’ waiver of indictment states. “I was advised in open court of my rights and the nature of the proposed charge against me. After receiving this advise, I waive my right to prosecution by indictment and consent to prosecution by information.”

Sentencing proceedings are scheduled for Sept. 19 at 1:30 p.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Lexington, Ky., according to District Judge Danny Reeves’ June 13 sentencing order.

Andrus admitted to playing a role in putting Carver under video surveillance in the hopes of catching her doing something that would be grounds for termination from her job at the Huntington hearing office.

Carver and her co-worker, Jennifer Griffith, testified in 2013 before Congress, along with employees from Conn’s office.

Conn and Daugherty were recently named in an 18-count federal indictment alleging conspiracy, fraud, obstruction, false statements and money laundering, in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $600 million in federal disability payments, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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