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Father of a former Eric C. Conn client mourns his daughter

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT
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Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - The Mountain Arts Center screened a portion of the Apple TV+ docuseries “The Big Conn” on Wednesday.

The show is about Eric C. Conn, an Eastern Kentucky attorney that stole from the federal government and paid bribes to a judge.

WYMT interviewed the father of one of his victims, Poe Stapleton, at the screening.

When Stapleton’s daughter Vanessa suffered a severe allergic reactions the medical costs became an overbearing part of life.

He recommended she go to Conn for help getting her Social Security disability money.

”Tell you the truth I never really did meet him,” said Stapleton. “I just recommended to my daughter to get him because we heard a lot of good things about him.”

Vanessa’s medical treatments were intense.

”She was in a hospital facility for seven months straight before she ever came home,” Poe said.

Conn’s money was obtained illegally and Conn was arrested.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) cut off Vanessa’s benefits and ordered her to pay back the money she received.

”She finally got to where she was getting to where she could feed herself on her own and everything,” said Poe. “But you still had to do everything for her. And, why? Why fight somebody that’s in that shape?”

Over time life took on a more routine feel for Vanessa. Even with the issue of debt unsettled.

Vanessa Stapleton then died at 31 years old in September 2021.

Poe said, as of a few months before her death, the SSA still expected repayment.

He said he has not heard from the SSA since her death, but he said there are people out there in a similar position to his daughter that deserve attention.

”You know, everything has a purpose in life,” he said. “That might have been her purpose in life.”

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