A two-year congressional study into a West Virginia Social Security office found that a prominent lawyer, a judge and several doctors profited by fraudulently getting the federal government to award benefits to 1,800 people.
Whistleblowers speaking Monday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee detailed how managers at a Huntington Social Security disability office facilitated a scheme to exploit the system for years. The investigation charged that Eric Conn, the third-highest-paid Social Security lawyer in the country, worked with a judge to overturn benefit denials for hundreds of claimants without any interference from the local Social Security office. The judge approved as much as 99 percent of the cases brought to him.
"It was a mass collusion between a judge and an attorney," said Sarah Carver, a senior case technician at the Huntington office. "It was something that was very noticeable within days of my employment and it just increased. And it was done in such openness. It wasn't something that was going on behind the scenes."