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‘The Big Conn’ Review: Giving People Money

A four-part AppleTV+ series tells the story of Eric C. Conn, who ripped off the Social Security Administration to the tune of $550 million

Billboard with Eric C. Conn Photo: Apple TV+

When a lawyer defends his own client by saying, “You can’t get mad at a snake for being a snake,” you can assume that the conflict at hand is not purely about guilt and innocence. And when the following shot in a documentary actually shows a snake slithering out of its subject’s storage locker, you can assume someone behind the camera has a pretty mischievous sense of humor.

“The Big Conn,” a likable, four-part AppleTV+ series, tells the story of Eric C. Conn, who masterminded what is probably the biggest rip-off in the history of the Social Security Administration—$550 million, gained through fraudulently processed disability claims out of eastern Kentucky. Is it a Robin Hood story? Not overtly. But Conn is a charming rogue; the people who profited from his long-running and very lucrative scheme weren’t necessarily not entitled to the money; and as one accomplice told a Wall Street Journal reporter, “A lot of people around here don’t have more than a fourth-grade education and couldn’t get a job if their lives depended on it.” Without actually going there, directors James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte—the makers of another entertaining/enlightening scamster story (“McMillion$”)—look to find some fun in fungible morality, without ignoring the fact that there were victims involved.

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