Businessman part of southwest Ohio corruption case faces witness tampering charges


By Lynn Hulsey - Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio (TNS)



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.

Higgins pleaded not guilty to the original indictment.

Higgins has also 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.

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.

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.

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By Lynn Hulsey

Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio (TNS)

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