Center city Philadelphia attorney Andrew H. Gaber committed suicide last week after being accused of running an insurance fraud scheme involving staged slip-and-fall accidents. Forty-six other individuals who allegedly worked for Gaber as runners and clients have also been charged in the insurance fraud scheme. The alleged fraud included 21 insurance companies, and netted approximately $400,000 in settlements.
Gaber had no history of disciplinary actions, but in 2001, he was a defendant in an action brought by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, alleging he, his law firm, a chiropractor, and 15 individuals participated in a scheme to defraud State Farm by staging automobile accidents and submitting fraudulent insurance claims.
Insurance fraud schemes frequently involve lawyers. In January of this year, New Haven, Connecticut, attorney Joseph P. Haddad, pleaded guilty two counts of mail fraud in an extensive fraudulent insurance claim scheme, which allegedly caused 10 insurance carriers nearly $2.5 million. Haddad agreed to pay restitution of $1,758,368, and faces a maximum prison term of 20 years on each of two counts, and a fine of up to approximately $3.5 million. In August of last year, two San Diego attorneys, Kasra Sadr and Brenda Barrera Merriles, were charged with fraudulently causing life insurance companies to issue more than $50 million worth of policies which were then sold to investors. Last December, a South Florida attorney, Anthony Livoti, was convicted for his role in an $800 million insurance fraud scheme.
Attorneys are frequently exposed to the temptation to cut corners. Those who do often face serious consequences.–Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire