The former president of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association and his store’s finance manager have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie, Pa., on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud, according to a news release from the Justice Department distributed this week.
U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said the 17-count indictment named former NIADA president Andy Gabler of Harborcreek, Pa., and Chad Bednarski, of Fairview, Pa., as defendants. Gabler resigned as NIADA president on Feb. 1.
According to the indictment presented to the court, Gabler was the owner of Lakeside Auto Sales and Lakeside Chevrolet, and Bednarski was the finance manager of both stores. The indictment states that from in and around January 2015, to in and around January of this year, Gabler and Bednarski falsely indicated that customers made a down payment and falsified and inflated the income of customers when submitting auto-finance applications to financial institutions on behalf of customers.
In addition, the Justice Department said Gabler caused extended warranties to be sold to customers buying a vehicle at Lakeside Auto Sales and Lakeside Chevrolet and deliberately failed to remit the paperwork and payment to the extended warranty company.
Further, officials said the defendants falsely reported vehicle sales to General Motors for vehicles that had not been sold in order to obtain expiring incentive rebates.
Finally, officials indicated the defendants deliberately did not inform S&T Bank when Lakeside Auto Sales and Lakeside Chevrolet sold a vehicle that the dealerships had purchased utilizing S&T Bank’s floor plan financing in order to delay and attempt to avoid the dealerships’ required payment to S&T Bank for the sold vehicles which had been purchased using S&T Bank’s floor plan financing.
The Justice Department noted the law provides for a maximum total sentence of 510 years in prison and a fine of $17 million for Gabler and 330 years in prison and a fine of $11 million for Bednarski.
Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
“An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty,” officials said.