Businessman part of Dayton corruption case faces witness tampering charges

Dayton businessman Brian Higgins
Dayton businessman Brian Higgins

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

Credit: Lynn Hulsey

Dayton businessman Brian Higgins has been indicted on additional federal counts, including tampering with witnesses in his fraud trial.

The superseding indictment filed on Dec. 17 includes three counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of tampering with a witness. The witness tampering and one wire fraud charge are new, but the others were in the original indictment.

Details of the insurance fraud allegations remain the same as in the first secret indictment filed in 2018 and announced in 2019 as part of the broader Dayton corruption case.

ExploreIndictment: Businessman used money from insurance at casino for phone bill

Higgins pleaded not guilty to the original indictment.

Higgins also has asked U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose to allow him to dismiss his attorneys and represent himself.

He could not be reached for comment.

The names of the witnesses are not included in the case but Higgins has said Mike Marshall and Scott Waters, owners of United Demolition Excavation and Site Management of Dayton, were the witnesses against him. The indictment alleges Higgins harassed and attempted to dissuade them from testifying against him.

Higgins could not be reached for comment. Marshall and Waters declined comment.

Higgin is scheduled for trial on Feb. 8.

He is accused of diverting insurance proceeds from Assurant to his own use rather than using them for repairs to his home. The indictment alleges Higgins enlisted a company identified as UD in the scheme and later used his own company, ProTech, in the scheme.

In a federal probe dubbed Operation Demolished Integrity federal prosecutors last year announced indictments of Higgins, former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, former Dayton city employee RoShawn Winburn, former state Rep. Clayton Luckie of Dayton, Germantown businessman Steve Rauch, former Trotwood Mayor Joyce Sutton Cameron and her husband James Cameron of Trotwood.

Williams, 54, pleaded guilty to one count of corruptly soliciting a bribe, was sentenced to prison and released to home confinement earlier this year due to concerns over COVID-19 in prison.

ExploreConfidential informants, secret recordings reveal ex-city commissioner bribery scheme

A February Dayton Daily News investigation found that Higgins introduced Marshall to Williams, who then accepted a bribe in return for helping United Demolition get city contracts. The investigation found that Marshall was the confidential informant who recorded Williams and Higgins, although Marshall denied it in an interview earlier this year.

Winburn, 46, pleaded guilty to corruptly soliciting a bribe and Luckie, 57, pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Luckie served a prison sentence. Winburn is scheduled to report to prison on March 31. His attorney, David P. Williamson, said Winburn’s report date was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ExploreConvicted former Dayton lawmaker wants Trump to pardon him

Rauch’s Steve Rauch Inc. and Joyce Sutton Cameron’s Green Star Trucking Inc. pleaded guilty earlier this month to conspiracy to engage in mail fraud. In exchange prosecutors agreed to dismiss all charges filed against Rauch, 65, of Germantown; Sutton Cameron, 72; and James Cameron, 82. Sentencing is scheduled for March 12.

ExploreTwo local companies plead guilty in federal corruption investigation

Follow Lynn Hulsey on Twitter and Facebook

ExploreSee more stories by Lynn Hulsey
ExploreRecord new businesses in Ohio, despite pandemic: ‘Entrepreneurship is still alive’
Explore‘I couldn’t find the balance.’ Impact of women leaving workforce will ripple through economy
ExploreInspire Dayton: She struggled to balance work, family and school. Now she helps Sinclair student apprentices succeed
ExploreJobsOhio boosting efforts for federal installations like Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
ExploreInspire Dayton: Air Force ‘gave me a gift that was just unbelievable.’ Now that family wants to help other vets