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Press Release

Auto Dealership Owner and Finance Manager Plead Guilty in Fraud Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

ERIE, Pa. - A resident of Harborcreek, Pennsylvania and a resident of Fairview, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of fraud conspiracy, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Andrew Gabler, 51, of Harborcreek, Pennsylvania and Chad Bednarski, 49, of Fairview, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Andrew Gabler, as the owner of Lakeside Auto Sales and Lakeside Chevrolet, and Chad Bednarski, as the finance manager of Lakeside Chevrolet, engaged in the following illegal activity between January 2015 and January 2019:

- Gabler falsely indicated that customers made down payments and falsified and inflated the income of customers when submitting auto loan applications to financial institutions on behalf of customers;

- Gabler caused extended warranties to be sold to customers buying vehicles at Lakeside Auto Sales and Lakeside Chevrolet and deliberately failed to remit the paperwork and payments to the extended warranty company;

- Gabler and Bednarski falsely reported vehicle sales to General Motors for vehicles that had not been sold in order to obtain expiring incentive rebates, and;

- Gabler and Bednarski 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.

Judge Baxter scheduled sentencing for January 6, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. for Gabler and 1:30 p.m. for Bednarski. The law provides for a total sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Gabler and Bednarski on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Gabler and Bednarski.

Updated September 1, 2020

Financial Fraud