Grand jury indicts Butler County man for romance-fraud conspiracy involving more than $1 million in proceeds, separate COVID-relief fraud
DAYTON, Ohio – A federal jury has convicted a Dayton businessman of crimes related to the fraudulent diversion of funds from an insurance claim.
Brian Higgins, 50, was found guilty of three counts of mail fraud and two counts of witness retaliation.
The verdict was announced today following a trial that began on Jan. 10 before U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Rose.
According to court documents and trial testimony, in 2014 and 2015, Higgins filed an insurance claim in connection with water damage to the Meeker Creek Residence, an 8,000 square-foot house in Dayton. Higgins received more than $100,000 in insurance claims that he used for his personal benefit rather than to repair water damage that occurred from a large fish tank.
Higgins used money disbursed on the claim to pay for personal expenditures, such as funding a new restaurant space, paying telephone bills, spending money at a casino, and other personal expenses, rather than paying for bona fide repairs and restoration of the home.
The defendant submitted invoices and repair cost estimates from a construction vendor to his mortgage company, falsely representing that he intended to buy these products to repair his house.
Higgins then diverted the money to himself and paid for travel, hotels and dining out, among other personal expenses. Higgins used a fraction of the funds from the claim to complete small, cosmetic repairs in an attempt to cover up his scheme.
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost's Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) announced today’s verdict. Deputy Criminal Chief Brent G. Tabacchi and Assistant United States Attorney Rob Painter are representing the United States in this case.
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