Entrepreneur Investigated for Fraud Started With WC In 2012

09 Jul, 2019 Liz Carey

                               

Dayton, OH (WorkersCompensation.com) – An entrepreneur who started off his working career transporting dead bodies for the city of Chicago is under investigation for a string of allegedly fraudulent activities, starting with workers’ compensation fraud in 2012.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Brian Higgins, an entrepreneur and restauranteur, is one of several Dayton residents, including some city employees and officials, who are being investigated in a federal corruption case. Higgins is charged with $100,000 in insurance fraud after claiming a 600-gallon fish tank leaked in his home and then not using the money he received from the settlement to repair the damages.

It’s not the first time Higgins has been under investigation.

In 2012, Higgins terminated the agreement between his company — GSSP Enterprises, Inc., for removing dead bodies, with the city of Dayton, when it came to light that the company owed more than $200,000 in workers’ compensation payments, as well as state and federal back taxes.

Tony Gottschlich, Public Information Officer with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, could not comment on whether or not those past due workers’ compensation payments had been made.

“Information on private employers is private, we can’t disclose their payments,” he said in an email interview with WorkersCompensation.com. A search of the Ohio BWC web site for information on whether or not the company was current resulted in no information found for the business. 

Higgins’ laundry list of problems over the years has investigators suspicious, the Dayton Daily News said. Among the incidents:

  • The theft of $22,000 from Higgins’ business just days before payroll was due, which led police officers to speculate the theft was designed to make it easier for Higgins to not pay his employees. Employees subsequently picketed his business for payment.
  • Two lawsuits at the same business – one for back rent and another for water damage.
  • The firebombing of Higgins’ car in 2017
  • A break-in at a friend’s home where Higgins claims thieves stole $40,000 in mink coats belonging to Higgins, as well as various other items.
  • A house fire in a house where Higgins was staying in 2018.

In April, Higgins was one of five men indicted by a grand jury on charges of corruption and mail fraud.

According to a statement from the Unites States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Higgins, along with Joey Williams, former Dayton City Commissioner; Roshawn Winburn, director of Dayton’s Minority Business Assistance Center; and Clayton Luckie, a Dayton businessman, were indicted for their parts in a scheme to award business contracts in exchange for personal favors.

The indictments were announced by Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Todd Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber.

“The grand jury alleges that Winburn devised a scheme that deprived the people of Dayton of their right to the honest and faithful services of its public officials through bribery and the concealment of material facts and information regarding minority-owned, woman-owned and small disadvantaged businesses,” Glassman said in a statement.

Williams was charged with soliciting bribes as a government employee. Authorities allege Williams accepted low-priced construction projects in exchange for influencing the awarding of city contracts. Luckie was charged with creating a fraudulent scheme to take advantage of federal and state programs to help disadvantaged businesses with the help of Winburn.

The investigation, Glassman said, is ongoing and more arrests are expected.


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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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