Former judge gets 6 months for role in scam

He lashed out, tried to dis­credit whistle­blow­ers

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY STEPHEN DINAN

A former top re­gional So­cial Se­cu­rity judge was sen­tenced Mon­day to six months in fed­eral prison for his role in try­ing to si­lence a whistle­blower who helped ex­pose the largest dis­abil­ity fraud scam in U.S. his­tory.

Char­lie Paul An­drus, who was chief ad­min­is­tra­tive law judge in the So­cial Se­cu­rity of­fice in Hunt­ing­ton, West Vir­ginia, was never charged with a role in the scam it­self, but did ad­mit to lash­ing out at the whistle­blower who was help­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tors look into the $550 mil­lion fraud ring.

An­drus told the court he was em­bar­rassed that one of his sub­or­di­nate ad­min­is­tra­tive law judges had been im­pli­cated, so he worked with or­ches­tra­tors of the scam to try to dis­credit Sarah Carver, the whistle­blower.

“I was pro­foundly wrong,” he told the judge be­fore sen­tenc­ing.

An­drus was at­tempt­ing to cover up a scam by Eric C. Conn, one of the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful dis­abil­ity lawyers, who filed more than 1,700 bo­gus ap­pli­ca­tions with So­cial Se­cu­rity, us­ing a sta­ble of doc­tors to write fake med­i­cal eval­u­a­tions then hav­ing David B. Daugherty, an ad­min­is­tra­tive law judge in the Hunt­ing­ton of­fice, rub­ber-stamp ap­provals for them.

Au­thor­i­ties say the scam was worth $550 mil­lion in bo­gus life­time ben­e­fit pay­ments.

Conn and Daugherty have also pleaded guilty while one of the psy­chol­o­gists in the scam, Al­fred Bradley Ad­kins, was found guilty in a trial ear­lier this year. Daugherty and Ad­kins are await­ing sen­tenc­ing while Conn jumped bail in June and is on the run. He was sen­tenced in ab­sen­tia last month.

Pros­e­cu­tors went af­ter An­drus for re­tal­i­at­ing against the whistle­blower, say­ing he gave Conn in­side in­for­ma­tion on her where­abouts and helped Conn an as­so­ciate of his put a tail her, hop­ing to spot her en­gaged in tele­work at­ten­dance fraud. The man bird­dogged Ms. Carver, even fal­si­fy­ing a video to make it ap­pear as though she was break­ing agency work rules.

An­drus, in a July let­ter to the court, said he had wanted vengeance on Ms. Carver.

“It ap­peared to me that my vic­tim, and em­ployee who had been dis­ci­plined in the past for sub­mit­ting false time en­tries and mak­ing false state­ments, was in charge and call­ing the shots. Any griev­ance she raised seemed to pro­voke an ac­tion from higher man­age­ment to ac­com­mo­date her,” the con­vict wrote. “I re­mem­ber think­ing that if she in­sisted that others pay a price for their ac­tions, so should she.”

Ms. Carver and a fel­low whistle­blower, Jen­nifer Griffith, say An­drus should have faced a stiffer penalty for his in­volve­ment in both the re­tal­i­a­tion and his role in the ac­tual scam, which they said is more ex­ten­sive than the gov­ern­ment has ad­mit­ted.

“I un­der­stand the judge was lim­ited and could only sen­tence former Chief ALJ An­drus to the charge of re­tal­i­a­tion. How­ever, I feel that it’s the Depart­ment of Jus­tice’s fault for not hold­ing him ac­count­able and charg­ing him with con­spir­acy which oc­curred be­tween An­drus, Daugherty and Conn,” Ms. Carver said.

She said she had re­peat­edly told An­drus about the scam that Conn and Daugherty were op­er­at­ing un­der his nose, but it went on for years.

In a lengthy state­ment to the court she de­scribed one meet­ing where, with a “cold mal­iced stare,” she said “he told me it was none of my busi­ness.”

Both whistle­blow­ers said An­drus’s at­tempts at apolo­gies and ex­pla­na­tions fell short.

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