PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT)- It's been a long time coming for former clients of Eric C. Conn. The former attorney is currently serving a 27-year sentence in federal prison for defrauding the social security system out of more than $600 million.
Ned Pillersdorf, a Prestonsburg attorney representing some of Conn's former clients held a meeting at the old Pikeville Courthouse on Tuesday giving an update to those still waiting to receive social security benefits.
"It's been a tough grind, but this is the best three weeks we've had in four years," said Pillersdorf.
Here is a brief summary of events leading up to Tuesday's meeting:
-In 2016, the Social Security Administration held hearings to determine whether or not former clients of Eric C. Conn should receive benefits.
-That same year, a U.S. district judge ruled those hearings unconstitutional and rigged against clients.
-Clients were still left without Social Security benefits and hearings continued.
-2019: Attorneys filed pleadings to reinstate all benefits.
-Five federal judges in separate rulings ordered that benefits be reinstated to about 300 people.
"In the last few weeks there have been a series of court-ordered for 300 of them who have active cases to get their benefits back," said Pillersdorf.
Though not all former clients of Eric C. Conn are getting their benefits yet, Pillersdorf said this is a huge step in the right direction.
"We've had people who have really been struggling. I've gotten to call I don't know how many homeless people and say 'you're getting a check for $100 thousand dollars,'" said Pillersdorf.
500 people are still left without benefits, 200 with cases in the appeals council, hopeful to see a check soon.
"If they give it back it will just ease a great burden," said Mary Mullins, and former client of Eric C. Conn.
Those who are receiving their benefits are asked to make sure their mailing address is correctly documented with the Social Security Administration as they are mailing paper checks. Attorneys also are warning former clients to be wary of scammers.