Former Dayton businessman Brian Higgins to be released early from federal prison

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Former Dayton businessman Brian Higgins is scheduled to be released early from federal prison on Feb. 1 after serving 20 months of his sentence on five charges related to insurance fraud, according to federal court documents and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Higgins, 52, has been in prison since May 2022 after being sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Rose to 36 months in prison on witness retaliation convictions and 24 months on mail fraud convictions. The sentences were to be served concurrently.

Higgins’ prison sentence was reduced to time served after the guideline sentencing range was lowered and made retroactive by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, according to an order signed by Rose on Jan. 9.

In October, Higgins’ conviction was affirmed by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the court did require reconsideration of an order to pay restitution of $84,113, court documents show. Federal prosecutors declined to seek further restitution, and that part of his sentence was vacated.

Higgins, of Dayton, was found guilty in January 2022 of three counts of mail fraud and two counts of tampering with a witness with intent to retaliate. The jury found Higgins not guilty of two counts of tampering with a witness.

He was accused of defrauding insurance company Assurant of money the company paid him for repairs that were to be made to a home he co-owned in Dayton.

Higgins used the money for personal expenses, including travel, hotels, dining out, funding a new restaurant, paying telephone bills and at a casino, according to a news release issued by U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker after Higgin’s sentencing.

Higgins was indicted as part of a federal public corruption investigation in the Dayton region announced in 2019. His was the only case that did not involve public contracting allegations.

Higgins is the former owner of the now-defunct Sidebar 410 restaurant in the Oregon District. Another business of his, GSSP Enterprise, had a contract to haul bodies for the Montgomery County Coroner’s office. That contract was terminated after a 2012 Dayton Daily News investigation found GSSP was delinquent on hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state taxes, and that Higgins had an undisclosed business relationship with Ken Betz, who was then the director of the coroner’s office.

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