Widower of Philadelphia Police Officer Charged With Fraudulent Collection of Death Benefits
PHILADELPHIA (Aug. 12, 2020) — District Attorney Larry Krasner on Wednesday announced the arrest and charging of John Higgins (DOB: 3/8/1953) of Philadelphia for fraudulently collecting workers compensation death benefits for years despite remarrying another woman.
Following an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) Economic Crimes Unit, Higgins is charged with Theft by Deception (F3), Insurance Fraud (F3), and Theft by Unlawful Taking (F3) for fraudulently collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in Pennsylvania workers compensation death benefits over nearly two decades.
Higgins’ late wife, Philadelphia Police Officer Sharon Higgins, died from a heart attack while on duty in 1987. Shortly thereafter, Higgins began collecting survivor benefits from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to which he was entitled for as long as he did not remarry.
Higgins remarried in late 1990. The DAO Economic Crimes Unit investigation found Higgins had falsely reported himself as not having remarried on dependency benefits forms filed with the state from 2002 through 2018.
“Not only is Mr. Higgins alleged to have defrauded taxpayers, he did so in the name of a former Philadelphia Police officer who tragically died while on duty,” District Attorney Krasner said. “I want to thank the detectives and prosecutors of the Economic Crimes Unit for their work in uncovering Mr. Higgins’ actions and bringing him to justice. My office will continue to make sure that families of first responders know that the benefits they have earned will be protected from theft and fraud.”
A preliminary hearing for Higgins has been scheduled for August 17th at 9:00 a.m.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually.