LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) Illegal trips across the Mexico border, a secret bank account to funnel money overseas, a pickup truck paid for in cash, a bag designed to block electronic signals and help from a former employee all went into the planning to aid an Eastern Kentucky lawyer to escape federal sentencing in a half-billion-dollar social security fraud scheme, federal investigators said in newly unsealed indictment obtained by the WHAS 11 News i-Team.
Eric Conn, who pleaded guilty in the social security case earlier this year, was on home detention awaiting sentencing when he escaped in June, investigators said.
According to the indictment, which was filed in early September, Conn, former employee Curtis Lee Wyatt and an unindicted co-conspirator had been plotting the escape since shortly after Conn's 2016 indictment in the fraud case.
In the new indictment, Wyatt is charged with helping Conn escape custody.
Federal investigators believe Wyatt opened a bank account which Conn used to send money outside the country, although the indictment does not specify where.
They also said, according to the indictment, Wyatt, on two occasions, crossed the Mexico border on foot to test security measures on the border.
Feds also allege Wyatt paid $3,425 cash to buy a pickup truck under a dummy company name and drove the vehicle to eastern Kentucky to help Conn escape.
When Conn first escaped, FBI investigators said his GPS ankle monitor was found along the interstate in a bag. According to the indictment, the bag was a faraday bag, which are capable of blocking RF or other electronic signals from being transmitted by any device put inside the bag.
Investigators eventually found the pickup truck in New Mexico, where in July, investigators revealed Conn had been spotted on surveillance cameras inside a Wal Mart.
Investigators have previously said nothing officially indicated Conn crossed into Mexico, but the FBI Special Agent in Charge of Louisville's field office said the agency would use all federal resources to track down Conn and also prosecute anyone who helped him escape.
“The indictment shows that we upheld that promise and will not rest until he is held accountable for the lives he impacted and the trust he betrayed," Amy Hess said in a written statement, "We will continue to pursue Mr. Conn and will bring all available resources to bear until he returns to face the consequences of his actions."
The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to Conn's capture. You can contact the FBI Louisville Field Office at (502) 263-6000.
i-Team Investigator Derrick Rose can be reached at 502-582-7232 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @WHAS11DRose