Frauds & Scams, Guest Bloggers

Inspector General Warns Public About Phone Scheme Targeting Former Conn Clients

June 22, 2017 • By

Last Updated: June 22, 2017

woman looking at cell phone Gale Stallworth Stone, the Acting Inspector General of Social Security, is warning citizens about a phone scheme allegedly targeting former clients of Kentucky disability attorney Eric C. Conn.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have received reports that Kentucky citizens who used Conn’s law firm to assist with applying for Social Security disability benefits have recently received suspicious calls from people claiming to be from SSA.

According to reports, the callers claim to be from SSA and offer citizens $9,000 from a “Conn Client Compensation Fund” if the citizens send $200 to the “Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”  The number associated with these calls is 202-681-5115.  Those who have sent money have received additional calls; some callers report that citizens can receive greater compensation amounts if they send more money, while others threaten that citizens will be arrested if they do not send additional funds.

The Acting Inspector General is alerting citizens that SSA personnel are not making these calls, and the compensation fund described in the calls does not exist.

“This scheme appears to target economically vulnerable citizens and use scare tactics to defraud them of their resources,” Acting Inspector General Stone said.  “Citizens should be very careful and avoid engaging with these suspicious callers.  If an unknown person pressures you on the phone into providing payments for odd reasons, don’t think twice about hanging up.”

If a person receives a similar suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA or the OIG, citizens may report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.  If a person has questions about any communication—phone call, email, letter, or text—that claims to be from SSA or the OIG, please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy.  (Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can call SSA’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)

Conn pleaded guilty in federal court in March 2017 to participating in a scheme with a former SSA administrative law judge and multiple doctors that involved the submission of thousands of falsified medical documents to SSA to support disability applications.  As a result of the scheme, Conn and his co-conspirators obligated SSA to pay $550 million in lifetime benefits for these fraudulent submissions.  Conn is scheduled to be sentenced in July 2017; however, on June 2, 2017, he removed his electronic monitoring device and fled.  On June 3, 2017, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Conn for violating the conditions of his bond.


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About the Author

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communications Director

Comments

  1. Hospitals & Asylums

    The human brain is said to have the computing power of two skyscrapers filled with microchips. After plagiarizing up two skyscrapers in Cincinnati and Chicago I have come to doubt any society of capital would do anything but drop pennies on the Democratic-Republican (DR) two party system. Mr. Conn obviously has to level with the insurance skyscraper across the Ohio River. Since the construction of that tallest building ran me out of that city, with five times the normal cancer mortality rate, in 2008 the United States has fallen victim to a numbers of insurance frauds that affect the national accounts. Legal process of insurance fraud would probably result in further delay, terrorism and insecurity. The rule of law would probably respond with surgical precision to the concept of inflationary neolasm to (1) refund Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit for zero’s sake (2) delete the refundable premium and cost-sharing reduction from the Treasury budget from CY16, (3) cut back the USDA Credit Commodity Corporation to within 2.5% growth from 2013 when it first started eating our SNAP benefits, (4) credit consumers for the extortionate ACA and SMI premium inflation in excess of 2.5% since CY 2016 and (5) abolish Medicare and invest the HI tax revenues in uncorrupted Medicaid prices.

  2. Karen Bitner

    I myself get calls daily. I have gotten calls from a kid named Joe, telling me I will receive $9, 000.00 today if I call another # which is suppose to be the Government treasury. I asked him questions and he being from another country.
    Look up the scams on line. Be up to date on the different scams. I have laughed at people that acted nervous during their little scam speech. I hung up on them as I laughed.

    • Rennifer

      What a great giveaway! I would definitely be sending one to the love of my life (P)! We're often in different st/iesacountrtes so he always appreciates a few words to let him know I'm thinking about him.Have a great long weekend!!

  3. Talakkottur R. David

    I currently live abroad in India but have a New York phone provided by Vonage. I had a similar call asking that the IRS will arrest me if I did not pay and to contact the caller. When I tried to trace the caller and called the number it went to an answering machine.

    The second scam was from a woman allegedly the daughter of Mohammed Kadafi, who was chatting with me to assist her and she is stationed in Dubai and that she has funds lying with the authorities. I believed everything but she alleged daughter of Kadafi, sent me another e-mail asking me to deposit funds. Then I realized that the so called daughter of Kadafi is another con-artist. I think she again attempted to reach me subsequently. I will definitely notify the authorities, but the problem is the authorities do not care and do even call or acknowledge receipt of complaints, even to this day although several months have passed.
    (631)841-6222

  4. Vicki Easterly

    As a non-attorney representative for Social Security disability claimants, I am appalled that innocent claimants and ethical representatives must pay for the sins of Eric Conn. He is a disgusting heap of humanity. I hope he is caught soon and brought to justice. He has wreaked havoc on too many people. We are not all Eric Conns. I know of no other representatives who behave the way Conn did. Claimants deserve the benefit (so to speak) of the doubt. Most attorneys, representatives, claimants, and judges are honorable. I hope the SSA pendulum of thought will swing back to one of trust.

  5. AKA

    Sounds like the people from Kentucky are getting Conn’d more than once.

  6. Carolyn Carr

    I have received calls about assistance for disability help I already have it they keep calling and the phone is on TiVo call.

    • LESLY FRANCOIS

      WE NEED TO STOP. THOSE CALL IT HAPEN TO ME TOO ALL DAY TIME AND IT BAD! BAD! WE TO KNOW WE THE PEOPLE. WE DESERVE WE NOT FINISH YET.

    • Polly

      Grade A stuff. I’m unobsetiqnauly in your debt.

  7. Donna

    I got 8 final notice calls on my answering machine yesterday saying the IRS is going to sue me & I should call the number. These scammers never give up.

  8. Susan in Glendale

    Please tell me that you are not saying that SSA is “obligated” to continue paying claims filed using fraudulent documents once the fraud is detected????

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      Social Security aggressively investigates allegations of fraud and aggressively pursues prosecution of people who commit fraud. Our message to those who attempt to defraud Social Security is clear: We will find you; we will prosecute you; we will seek the maximum punishment under the law, and we will fight to restore the money you’ve stolen from the American people.

    • Annabanana

      Yeah, that jumped out at me too. Either the patients are eligible for the coverage or they arent, why would SSA pay fraudulent claims ($550 million???) to people signed up through a scammer, if indeed it IS a scam? Maybe it requires doing all that work over again, but only people who are eligible should get assistance. Maybe publish a photograph of the guy. He could be anywhere, maybe we’d recognise him, and turn him in.

  9. Gennady

    Thank you very hard writing I have MS from year 2005 before I working now no wife divorse now I no walking bad balance social security pay me 318 dollar hard to live this money you understend me if you healp I be very Happy for your healping

    • Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thank you for contacting us Gennady. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SSI program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults who have limited income and resources. To see if you qualify for additional benefits or a higher benefit amount than what you are currently receiving, contact your local Social Security office or you may call our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Also, disabled individuals may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which they live. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. Or you can visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information. We hope this information helps.

  10. Frank Casso

    Yes I got a call about 6 or 8 weeks ago and I called the SSA office and they told me the SSA well never notify me by phone. They will send me a notice in the mail only.

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