New documents surface in Conn case

PRESTONSBURG – Though attorney Eric C. Conn and his legal team have not responded to questions about any of his former employees who have testified against him, new documents obtained by The Floyd County Times show that Conn and his team are certainly paying attention.

The documents consist of a copy of a forensics report relating to former Conn employees Melinda Martin and Jamie Slone, a copy of a notarized affidavit of a statement from Misty Martin Long, Melinda Martin’s sister, and copies of accounting statements and pay stubs for Jamie Slone, a former accountant and office manager at Conn’s firm, and Kyle Oliver, who the documents says is Slone’s son.

The forensics report, dated June 22, 2015, is from Brian Forrest, a forensic document examiner based out of Winlock, Wash., and is a letter of opinion on comparisons of Conn’s signature with that of Slone’s and Martin’s. In the report, Forrest states he used four known Conn signatures for comparison alongside one document with Slone’s known signature. Likewise, Forrest writes that he used the same four Conn signatures to make comparisons with 10 documents with Martin’s known signature.

The four documents with Conn’s known signature were a signature page, a U.S. Passport, a promissory note, and a copy of a check. Slone’s was from a copy of a signed affidavit, while the 10 documents with Martin’s signature were nine checks and a signed affidavit.

“Based upon thorough analysis of these items,” Forrest wrote in his conclusion, “and from an application of accepted forensic document examination tools, principles and techniques, it is my professional expert opinion is as follows: It is highly probably that Eric C. Conn did not author the signatures bearing his name on the questioned documents…There is evidence that would suggest that Mrs. Jamie Slone could have authored the Eric C. Conn signatures…It is highly probably that Mrs. Melinda Martin authored the signatures of Eric C. Conn on the questioned signatures.”

The majority of the checks analyzed were checks marked “petty cash” in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $6,500. One check examined by Forrest was a paycheck made out to Slone.

In another 24-page document marked “Jamie Slone-Pay Stubs Kyle Oliver (Son)-Pay Stubs” are statements with photocopied checks alleging that Slone, who left Conn’s firm in June of 2011, approved for herself both overtime pay and several pay raises, as well as paying what the documents calls “extravagant and unrealistic” amounts to her son, Kyle Oliver, who, according to the documents, worked as a bookkeeper at the firm.

According to the documents, in about a four-month span between May 29, 2011 to Nov. 6, 2011, Slone approved a roughly $15,000 annual increase to her salary as reflected in accounting statements provided in the documents. The document alleges Slone herself approved these raises and that only the first raise from $25 an hour to $29 an hour was approved by Conn himself.

There are also photocopies of accounting statements that show pay raises and approved overtime for Oliver. These statements show Oliver being initially employed at $8 an hour and then, following the first pay period beginning on June 25, was raised in pay to $12 an hour. The accounting statements also reflect that by the next pay period, beginning on July 2, Oliver’s pay was increased to $13 an hour.

The documents maintain that Conn didn’t approve these changes in Oliver’s pay, alleging this, as with Slone’s own pay increases, was done by Slone herself.

“Since she (Slone) was responsible for reviewing time cards and giving them to the CPA, she could show any amounts for hours and rates of pay,” the document alleges. “When she left on March 15, 2012, there were no time cards to show how many hours was (sic) worked by the employees. She paid herself enormous amount (sic) of overtime and could raise her pay as she wanted.”

A third document obtained by The Times is a copy of a sworn and notarized affidavit dated Oct. 14, 2013, from Misty Martin Long, which the document says is the sister of Melinda Martin. In the affidavit, Long alleges that when she took the position of office manager at Conn’s law firm immediately following the time Slone spent in the same position.

Long also speaks to the destruction of documents in the affidavit, saying that during her time at the firm, from 2003 until 2008, “it was policy, per Eric Conn, that no one was permitted to shred/destroy any kind of document.” Instead, Long explains in her statement that each employee had what she called a “Dup-box” that once full had a lid placed on it and was taken to “the closed building for storage.” The policy, according to Long, was so strictly enforced that a former employee, Priscilla Greer, was fired from the firm in February of 2013 “because another employee overheard her saying she shredded an additional form that she did not need her client to sign.”

Part of Martin and Slone’s testimony include statements that large amounts of documents were burned at Conn’s office complex in Stanville shortly after a federal investigation was opened against him for fraud in his disability and social security cases.

Another portion of Long’s signed affidavit details events allegedly taking place on Feb. 20, 2012 and concerns what she referred to as the firm’s “National Department.”

“I was called into Jamie Slone’s office,” Long states. “Eric Conn and David Hicks were also in her office at that time. They discussed with me that they thought I should become the Supervisor of the National Department. At this time my sister, Melinda Martin, held this title.”

Long says that after the discussion, she returned to the department and told her sister who then became “upset and talked to Jamie Slone in her office for hours and ultimately quit soon after that day.”

Long’s affidavit goes on to say that in the spring of 2012 Slone came into her office where she was talking with Conn and confronted him, saying “all of the employees wanted to be laid off.”

“Eric asked why and she would not tell him,” Long said in her statement. “She said you better just lay them off or their (sic) all going to leave and something bad is about to happen.”

Long claims in her statement that Slone and numerous other employees then left and later “went to the unemployment office,” saying Conn had “laid” them off and making claims about the firm’s office being an “unsafe” workplace.

Slone and Martin both testified in October of 2012, along with Jennifer Griffith and Sarah Carver, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on behalf of an investigation and subsequent case alleging a scheme to defraud the government between Conn and West Virginia Social Security Judge David Daugherty.

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