46 People Charged in Elaborate Slip and Fall Scheme

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April 23, 2014: Today, District Attorney Seth Williams announced charges against twenty-four (24) people for a seven year scheme using staged slip and fall accidents that defrauded over twenty-one (21) different insurance companies out of close to $400,000. The defendants include people who falsely claimed to have suffered accidents and injuries, and the “runners” who recruited them to lie.
The lengthy Grand Jury Investigation into this complex ring began nearly two years ago. Based on assistance from The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), various victim insurance companies (Harleysville, USAA, Utica, Hartford, Philadelphia Contribution, State Farm, Zurich, Erie, Western Heritage, American Indemnity, Technology, Scottsdale, Chubb, Allstate, Travelers, U.S Underwriters, Markel Corporation, Crawford & Co, Gallagher Bassett, Nationwide, Ohio Casualty, Nautilus, RepWest, Carl Warren & Co, PA Assigned Risk and CNA), witness testimony, and records seized in the course of the investigation, the District Attorney’s Insurance Fraud Unit (IFU) established that the scheme was operated by a local attorney for more than seven years.
The director of this complex insurance fraud was 52-year-old Andrew H. Gaber, an attorney. Gaber ran the operation out of his Center City law office where he was the sole-practitioner. Gaber who was scheduled to be arrested today, along with several other defendants, committed suicide last week.
The “runners” in this scheme were paid approximately $100 to $500 cash for bringing in or referring a claim. The “runners” were trained to recognize the following necessary components of a “good case:” claimants should go to the hospital or call an ambulance following the staged fall, and the sidewalk where the accident occurred should have a defect that is not too obvious. Testimony also described a photo that hung in the law office featuring a ruler measuring the appropriate height of a pavement defect as an example of a “good spot” to fake a fall. The Law Offices of Andrew H. Gaber operated primarily on referral business, meaning that over 95% of the firm’s cases were brought in by runners. Some of the runners referred over fifty (50) cases each to the firm over a three year span.
This insurance fraud operation also enlisted claimants in addition to runners to act as conspirators. These people were encouraged to fabricate falls and lie about injuries to medics and/or fire rescue in order to deceive insurance companies. For their part, claimants received a portion of the cash settlements, or the remaining amount after Gaber’s 40% fee, medical bills and any liens were deducted.
In order to cement these fraudulent claims, the runners would instruct the fraudulent “clients” to call 911 and have fire rescue transport them to a local hospital for emergency treatment. The recruited “client” would then go to a doctor for further medical care. The importance of this medical treatment was reinforced routinely, and the runners were told to “make sure” the clients would receive therapy. Gaber then filed fraudulent insurance claims supported by medical records, witness statements, alleged fall spot photographs, and fire rescue and/or ambulance records. Evidence established that the runners brought in forty-three (43) fictitious claims. Gaber settled twenty-four (24) of these claims for approximately $382,900.00 from various insurance companies.
“We commend the District Attorney’s Office for its continued efforts to fight insurance fraud,” said NICB Regional Director Gary Healy. “Today’s announcement sends a clear message that our law enforcement partners are prepared to go the distance to pursue those who would try to take advantage of Pennsylvania insurance companies and their customers.”
To date, twenty-two (22) people have been arrested and charged with Insurance Fraud and related crimes in connection with these staged slip and fall accidents. Of those twenty-two (22) defendants, nineteen (19) cases have already been disposed of. Fifteen (15) defendants have entered guilty pleas, four have been granted ARD, and three are scheduled for guilty pleas in upcoming hearings. IFU is in the process of tracking down and arresting an additional twenty-four (24) people involved in the conspiracy, for a total of forty-six (46) arrests.
Assistant District Attorney Linda Montag and Detective Alfredo Quintile, both of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit, are specially assigned to this investigation.


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