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In 2016, shockingly, my husband Brad, a clinical psychologist with a PhD, was indicted by federal prosecutors who accused him of being part of the Eric Conn bribery scandal. Conn had bribed a Social Security Administration judge to approve all of his clients’ petitions for Social Security disability. To earn a greatly reduced sentence, Conn accused the four doctors, to whom he had referred his clients, of being part of his scheme.

Brad had no knowledge of Conn’s bribery scheme, nor did he know that Conn had his office staff forging Brad’s signature on altered forms and reports so the judge’s files looked good. Because he was innocent of the charges, Brad refused to sign a plea offer that would have required him to admit under oath that he had been part of Conn’s bribery scheme.
The case went to trial, and although we paid all we had to our trial attorney, the trial was badly botched and Brad was convicted of being part of a conspiracy to defraud the Social Security Administration. He received a sentence of 25 years in prison, of which he has to serve 85% with no possibility of parole.

I was devastated.

Brad has already served nearly 6 years in prison. We have been married for 30 years, have a beautiful daughter, and two wonderful grandbabies under the age of 4. It tears my heart out that Brad is not home with us. We have all been so distraught by what has happened to our family. It is so hard for me being alone without my husband. Crying myself to sleep, I can’t imagine continuing on like this.

This system of plea deals that encourage criminals to lie, and innocent people to plead guilty or face exorbitantly long sentences, seems so unfair and so unjust. The system is so bad, so corrupt, encouraging overzealous prosecutors to use any means necessary to get guilty pleas in a way to further their careers.

But I have recently been greatly encouraged as Brad’s new attorney tells me that my husband’s innocence can be proven, but that there is much work to do before we can file the motion with the court. The largest part of the task, and the expenses associated with it, is to gather the documentation that must be filed with our motion.

What I’m told is that the prosecutor’s case against my husband was based on only two things. First, the claim that he had submitted papers for filing with the Social Security Administration that falsely claimed 231 people qualified for disability benefits based on their mental disabilities. Secondly, that he had signed papers that he didn’t actually prepare as the law required.

Journalists following the story have recently reported (see copy of article posted adjacent to this text) that about 80% of the people who had gotten caught up in this did indeed qualify for benefits. Because there were four doctors involved (only one of which, my husband, was prosecuted), our attorney needs all of the records from Social Security Disability awards involving about 2,000 people. He will then have to sift through all of them to match up the 231 whom my husband helped, to see how many of them have been vindicated. If at least 60% of them (at least 137 people) did indeed qualify for benefits, it proves that my husband didn’t submit any false paperwork. This is true because the normal approval rate for SSA applications is 60%.

As for signing papers that he didn’t actually prepare, our attorney will be retaining a handwriting expert who will testify that all 82 of those forms weren’t in fact signed by my husband, but were forged by the attorney or his staff. At that point, the first attorney’s staff members will have to admit that they lied at my husband’s trial.

There are other witnesses, too; witnesses that my husband’s first attorney could have called at trial but didn’t. These witnesses will be able to prove that the testimony of the first attorney’s staff members at trial was false.

Since he has been falsely and unjustly incarcerated, my husband has had to undergo time in prison under conditions in which COVID was prevalent. He has had COVID at least twice. He has health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, that make him particularly susceptible to death by COVID. He has also been hospitalized for gall bladder removal. The Bureau of Prisons is notorious for failing to provide adequate medical care of their inmates.

In addition, he has not been here for me when I went through the loss of my mother, his mother-in-law, whom he loved very much. They were very close and he didn’t get to attend her funeral or even to visit with her to tell her goodbye. His biggest fear is that he will lose more family members while he is in prison.

My husband’s parents are both in their mid-70’s and they are not nearly as able to take care of their house and other needs as they were when he was first incarcerated. If he could get home, he could help them with cutting grass, transportation, and other things elderly parents rely on their children for.

Our family is not the same without my husband. He now has two grandchildren who are growing up without being able to interact with him daily in a meaningful way. When he does get visits with them at the prison, they are not allowed to be held by him or sit on his lap. They need to have positive interaction with their grandfather much more frequently and in a more meaningful way.

My husband is a minister in our church, where his father is the pastor. The church is comprised of a mostly older congregation, and they need him to be there to minister to them both in church and in their daily lives. My husband preached weekly. He currently preaches and ministers in prison and attends church several times each week, helping in the music ministry. He has not allowed this horrible situation to diminish his faith in God! If he could procure the funds he needs and gain release from prison, his plan is to return to ministering at our church and serving our community.

Prior to being incarcerated, Brad spent practically all of his adult life working with mental health patients. He has worked in a vocational rehabilitation setting helping people battle mental health disorders and psychological evaluations to help them find the work most suitable for them. He spent at least 15 years helping the local Appalachian population combat narcotics and alcohol addictions, a scourge in our area. Many people have come up to us while were out and told us that he saved their family members or even them personally. He has also worked with the Kentucky Department of Disability Determination and with other local attorneys in evaluating claimants for disability benefits. After having lost his license due to this legal case, Brad worked in helping indigent Appalachians procure health insurance benefits. He also volunteered at local food giveaways with a local church.

Brad is a valuable part of our family, and he has spent his life serving God, us, and his community. He has been a witness to others in prison who have subsequently given their lives to the Lord. We miss him very much! We need funds to be able to get his case back into court. He wants to spend the rest of his life in service to God and his fellow man.

Please help us with any amount you feel you can donate. We want to have Brad back home as a husband, father, grandfather, son, and brother as quickly as God will allow.
Sherry Adkins
Pikeville, Kentucky

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