A federal jury in Lexington, KY convicted a clinical psychologist this week for his role in a Social Security disability fraud scheme that included a former Social Security Administration (SSA) administrative law judge.
According to an announcement from the Justice Department, the scheme also involved the submission of thousands of falsified medical documents to the SSA, obligating the SSA to pay more than $600 million in lifetime benefits to claimants predicated on these fraudulent submissions.
Alfred Bradley Adkins, 45, of Shelbiana, KY, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of making false statements. Sentencing has been scheduled for September 22.
According to evidence presented at trial, Adkins conspired with former SSA administrative law judge David Black Daugherty and former Kentucky lawyer Eric Christopher Conn to defraud the U.S.
Conn and Adkins submitted false and fraudulent medical documentation to the SSA, and Daugherty awarded disability benefits based on the fraudulent documents in order to have the SSA pay claimants’ retroactive disability benefits and continue to pay claimants’ disability benefits in the future.
The trial evidence demonstrated that the conspirators’ actions obligated the SSA to pay more than $600 million in disability benefits in more than 2,000 cases to claimants in Kentucky and elsewhere, irrespective of the claimants’ actual entitlement to benefits.
The scheme went on for nearly eight years, and Conn received more than $7.5 million of taxpayer dollars in attorney’s fees and paid more than $600,000 to Daugherty, and approximately $200,000 to Adkins, the evidence showed.
According to the trial evidence, Adkins performed perfunctory evaluations of claimants referred to him by Conn and used boilerplate reports to detail conditions to support disability findings. Additionally, the trial evidence showed that Adkins, at Conn’s request, altered his findings on certain reports and ultimately signed forms prepared by Conn purporting to show that claimants qualified for disability benefits, whether or not they did. Conn then submitted these artificially disabling reports and falsified forms to Daugherty and other administrative law judges in support of disability determinations.
Conn and Daugherty both pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.