Attorney at heart of alleged insurance fraud took own life before indictment was announced

Andrew Gaber, 52, a personal injury lawyer, killed himself April 15, days before an indictment was announced charging him with allegedly masterminding a conspiracy to commit  insurance fraud. Credit: D.A.'s Office
Andrew Gaber, 52, a personal injury lawyer, killed himself April 15, days before an indictment was announced charging him with allegedly masterminding a conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. Credit: D.A.’s Office

A Center City personal injury lawyer took his own life last week, days before D.A. Seth Williams released an indictment putting the lawyer at the heart of an alleged insurance fraud scheme.

Andrew Gaber, 52, took his own life on April 15. The manner of death was gunshot, sources said.

“The family is devastated,” said Mark Neff, Gaber’s criminal defense attorney and a friend. “He leaves behind a widow, two young children, a brother, brothers in law, a sister, a very large but close extended family. In terms of what brought this on, I don’t think any of us really knows that.”

D.A. Williams announced at a press conference Wednesday that 46 individuals have been indicted on charges related to a scheme to defraud various insurance companies by faking “slip-and-fall” incidents and filing lawsuits allegedly handled by Gaber, although charges will not proceed against Gaber.

“My condolences go out to his family,” Williams said of Gaber. “I would have preferred of course for the criminal process to proceed.”

However, Williams said that Gaber’s death won’t impact the proceeding of the criminal case.

“This office will not give lawyers who commit white-collar crimes a pass,” Williams said. “Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime.”

According to Williams, almost $400,000 in fraudulent insurance claims was paid out by a dozen insurance companies including State Farm, Allstate and Nationwide on fraudulent slip-and-fall cases as part of the scheme, which allegedly went on for approximately seven years.

Williams said that Gaber would pay “runners” $100 to $500 in cash to find people, often homeless people, Williams said, who would act as “claimants” by pretending to fall and hurt themselves, call 911 and seek medical attention, and then provide that paperwork to Gaber to file insurance claims.

In Gaber’s office, there was a picture of a ruler measuring the height of a pavement defect to show a “good spot” for a slip-and-fall claim, Williams said.

When an individual slips and falls on uneven or broken pavement outdoors, the property-owner responsible for that pavement can be held financially liable.

Williams said most claims were filed against commercial tenants, although some were filed against residential tenants.

Neff said that, before his death, Gaber intended to file a not guilty plea and proceed to trial.

“The criminal charges that were outlined in the presentment were in large measure based on the word of criminals,” Neff said. “Admitted, avowed liars and thieves — those are the people whose word the government is taking as the gospel.”

Leaders and ‘runners’ charged

Credit: D.A.'s Office
Credit: D.A.’s Office

Alleged ‘claimants’

These individuals are charged with fraud and are being sought by police to be arrested. Credit: D.A.'s Office
These individuals are charged with fraud and are being sought by police to be arrested. Credit: D.A.’s Office



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…