William and Sara Hickman

William and Sara Hickman are escorted out of the FBI office in Northfield after being charged with participating in the ongoing health benefits fraud scheme March 15.

CAMDEN — The couple authorities pegged as ringleaders in the ongoing $50 million health benefits fraud case are slated to appear in U.S. District Court Friday afternoon.

William Hickman, 42, a former pharmaceutical sales representative, and his wife, Sara, 42, a former teacher – who both pleaded not guilty to healthcare and wire fraud charges along with five others who were arrested in the case last month – are scheduled to appear for arguments about the government’s seizure of their assets.

The couple’s lawyers are expected to argue that the government needs to release assets to the couple so they can pay for their attorneys’ fees as well as day-to-day living expenses up to and through the trial.

It is unclear how much the government has seized.

In a decision last week, Judge Robert B. Kugler ruled that Sara could take her son to Orlando, Florida, “for the purposes of visiting Disney World and other amusement venues in the Orlando area.”

However, the couple will not be allowed to travel to Puerto Rico over the Easter holiday.

Prosecutors allege the Hickmans were ringleaders of a local criminal organization authorities said cheated taxpayer-funded public workers’ health insurance programs out of more than $50 million.

The seven join a total of 30 people charged in the case since August 2017. Most are from Atlantic County, and the list includes teachers, firefighters, police officers and other public employees along with a doctor and pharmaceutical representatives.

Contact: 609-272-7241

mbilinski@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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