Despite taunts on the run, Conn enters not guilty plea in escape

Concern for Eric Conn whistleblowers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Despite eluding authorities for six months and bragging to a Lexington newspaper about federal investigators' inability to find him, disgraced attorney Eric Conn entered a not guilty plea in federal court Wednesday, less than 24 hours after FBI agents brought him back from Honduras to Kentucky.
 
Conn is charged along with his former employee, Curtis Wyatt, of planning and executing the June 2 escape where Conn, who was on house arrest, cut off his GPS ankle monitor and ultimately left the country.
 
Conn entered a not guilty plea.
 
It was the first time either man faced a judge on the indicted charges because Conn had been on the run.

RELATED: Ky. lawyer on FBI's Most Wanted list captured in Honduras

FBI Special Agent in Charge Amy Hess said at a news conference Tuesday, Conn was captured in the Central American country on Saturday.
 
Hess was there to greet Conn as the government plane landed at Bluegrass Airport Tuesday night.
 
The images of Conn in handcuffs and surrounded by a team of FBI agents brought a certain relief for Sarah Carver and Jennifer Griffith, the two now-former social security employees who first blew the whistle on Conn's scheme to swindle the government, and ultimately Kentucky and West Virginia families out of $550 million. 


 
"They were extremely gratified that he was caught...from the standpoint of he's finally going to face the music," attorney Mark Wohlander said.

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Wohlander represents Carver and Griffith and said there was a particular concern the day Conn escaped.
 
"I immediately called them and told them call the local police department and ask them for extra patrols, be very vigilant in what you do where you go, look over your shoulder because there were concerns."
 
A major concern was for Conn, who could have been anywhere, and the Curtis Wyatt, the man accused of helping Conn escape.

RELATED: FBI offers $20K reward to find escaped fraudster Eric Conn
 
"Sarah had grave concerns because [Wyatt] was part of the scheme to stalk Sarah and we never knew whether or not, at some point, Eric was going to show up at Sarah's house or Jennifer's house," Wohlander said, "Eric didn't like me and I didn't know if he would show up at my house."
 
Fortunately, Conn left the country and was eventually caught thousands of miles away. His return to Kentucky calmed the ladies' nerves as Conn was brought back to face the justice they had waiting years to see.
 
Conn is scheduled to stand trial on the escape charges Feb. 12.
 
i-Team Investigator Derrick Rose can be reached at 502-582-7232 and dnrose@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter: @WHAS11DRose.
 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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