FBI agent says Conn case part of broader effort to rid Eastern Kentucky of public corruption
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – Disability attorney Eric C. Conn is the latest in a long line of people from Eastern Kentucky to face charges related to public corruption.
The region has a reputation of not always abiding by the rules when it comes to elections and handling taxpayers’ money.
But the FBI is trying to change that.
Special Agent Howard Marshall, who manages the FBI’s office in Louisville, said the bureau is reallocating agents and resources to Eastern Kentucky as part of its “End Corruption Now” campaign.
Folks can call in tips at (844) KYNOPC1 (596-6721) or e-mail Kentucky_PC_Complaints@ic.fbi.gov.
“Public corruption is our number one criminal priority,” Marshall said Friday during an interview with WYMT. “Certainly we remain focused on national security issues and terrorism is obviously a big deal, but on the criminal side there is no more important violation for us to combat than public corruption.”
Marshall also talked some about the Conn case.
Conn earlier this week pleaded not guilty to charges he schemed with a former judge and others to defraud the Social Security Administration out of millions of dollars.
“When you stop and think about the numbers that are alleged in the indictment – 600 million taxpayer dollars – that’s a huge number,” Marshall said. “To think about what could have been done with that money at a time of shrinking budgets at every level … to think about what could have been done with that money is heartbreaking.”
Federal officials believe a conviction in the Conn case will bolster their efforts to battle corruption across state.
“It undermines the confidence in our systems. It undermines our government’s ability to serve the people,” Marshall said. “Essentially it creates skepticism and cynicism and rightfully so. We should be able to expect honest services from our elected and appointed leaders.”
Conn has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has invested heavily in legal representation to fight the charges.
Marshall promised more indictments related to public corruption in Eastern Kentucky are coming “soon.”