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August 13, 2020

Philly police officer's widower charged with fraud for allegedly collecting cop's death benefits after remarrying

John Higgins, 67, was married to Sharon Higgins who died on duty in 1987

Investigations Fraud
Higgins Fraud Police Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

John Higgins, 67, allegedly committed fraud to collect survivor benefits stemming from the death of his wife, former Philadelphia police officer Sharon Higgins. Authorities said Higgins failed to disclose that he remarried, which would have disqualified him from receiving funds during the period investigated.

The husband of a Philadelphia police officer who suffered a fatal heart attack has been charged with fraudulently collecting "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in death benefits after he remarried, District Attorney Larry Krasner said.

John Higgins, 67, began collecting survivor benefits in 1987 after his wife, Sharon Higgins, died while .

Higgins was entitled to receive the benefits from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry as long as he did not remarry.

Prosecutors said Higgins did remarry late in 1990, but continued then allegedly falsely reported he had not on dependency benefits forms filed with the state. The alleged fraud took place from 2002 through 2018, investigators said.

"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,” Krasner said.

A preliminary hearing for Higgins is scheduled for Aug. 17.