Monday trial set for Dayton businessman Brian Higgins

Dayton businessman Brian Higgins on Wednesday lost his bid to fire his attorneys and is scheduled to stand trial in federal court Monday on felony charges related to alleged insurance fraud.

Also on Wednesday, Higgins, 50, of Dayton, pleaded not guilty to three counts of mail fraud, two counts of tampering with a witness, and two counts of tampering with a witness with intent to retaliate, according to documents filed with U.S. District Court. He is accused of defrauding an insurance company that paid for repairs to his home.

Higgins’ attorneys Tamara S. Sack and Paul Montague Laufman had petitioned the court in December to remove them, saying Higgins believed they were not effectively representing him.

U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Rose denied the motion to remove them. Higgins had also sought their removal in 2020, but changed his mind and kept them. His first attorney, Anthony R. Cicero, withdrew in 2020 due to a conflict of interest.

Higgins is the final defendant remaining in the federal government’s public corruption investigation announced in 2019. That investigation led to the conviction of former Dayton city commissioner Joey D. Williams, 55, of Dayton; former state representative Clayton Luckie, 58, of Dayton; and former Dayton city employee RoShawn Winburn, 47, of Huber Heights.

Luckie served his term and Williams was released early last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Winburn is scheduled to begin serving his term on Monday, but this week he and the U.S. attorney’s office filed a motion requesting that be delayed to May 10.

Green Star Trucking, owned by former Trotwood Mayor Joyce Sutton Cameron, 73; and Steve Rauch Inc., owned by Steve Rauch, 66, of Germantown, also pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to engage in mail fraud and were fined.

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