This past Wednesday former Social Security Administration (SSA) Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Paul Stribling Conger Jr. was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for trading sex for disability benefits. In legal terms, he had pled guilty last October to theft of government property, obstructing justice and accepting a gratuity.
ALJ Conger had operated out of the Birmingham Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR) for a number of years up until 2014, and had occupied a bench in family court for an even longer period. He was also disbarred last week for good measure.
According to the news article, the incident in question occurred in 2013 when apparently ALJ Conger and an individual set to appear before him on a SSA disability claim settled on the arrangement and concluded it that day in the Tuscaloosa federal courthouse. He attempted to continue the relationship afterward with the victim, calling and texting the individual frequently, who doesn’t appear to have been interested in doing so.
Moreover, when the Office of the Inspector General got wind of the possible crime and started investigating the matter ALJ Conger apparently engaged a third party to acquire and dispose of the victim’s cellphone to cover his tracks, using his position to access the individual’s personal information to further the scheme.
According to disabilityjudges.com, ALJ Conger awarded disability benefits to petitioners in about 79 percent of the cases he presided over, which is remarkably high. The national average is about 44 percent these days, while Alabama stands a little higher at 48 percent.
In reviewing my own records, it appears that I may have batted 1.000 when I appeared before ALJ Conger – one for one. I could have had a few more cases with him since he had been on the ODAR bench since 1999, but my computer records only go back so far. Hopefully, this was an isolated event, as disabled people already have too many issues to deal with without adding something like this to the list.
If you or your child have been denied SSA disability benefits or suffer from a severe impairment that is expected to last more than twelve months and that prevents you from doing any of your past or other work or is causing developmental delay in your child, please contact our office nearest to you to set up a free consultation appointment to discuss your situation.
James Ezzell is an attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Huntsville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Law. James prides himself in working and winning SSA Disability cases for people truly in need of his help. Read his full bio here.