DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - The Dekalb County District Attorney’s Office has filed a lawsuit to seize the life insurance proceeds of a slain Dunwoody businessman from his widow, a suspect in his death.
According to court documents obtained by Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik, the surviving Sneiderman collected more than $2 million in life insurance benefits in February 2011.
"In spite of her involvement in Rusty's murder, Andrea applied for and received the proceeds of Rusty's life insurance benefits,” the lawsuit, filed in DeKalb Superior Court, said. “The total financial benefit surrounding the murder of Rusty, excluding equity in real estate, to Andrea was in excess of $2.5 million."
The lawsuit alleges because Andrea obtained the money after knowingly participating in the planning of her husband’s murder, the money is “contraband and should be forfeited to the state.”
According to the documents, a DeKalb County investigator froze the accounts holding the money on Aug. 3.
The lawsuit doesn’t name Sneiderman as a defendant, rather the Bank of New York Mellon, where the money is being held.
A representative for DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said his office had no comment on the lawsuit. Attorneys for Andrea Sneiderman and her husband’s family also declined to comment.
Former veteran prosecutor Ken Hodges told Petchenik the lawsuit sets a precedent.
“I don’t have a recollection of when this has been done,” he told Petchenik, adding that most forfeitures occur in drug cases.
Hodges questioned why the insurance company didn’t file a lawsuit seeking payback of its proceeds.
“The insurance company should be coming forth,” he said. “The fact that they’re not coming forth after they presumably did their own investigation is evidence to me that this has no merit.”
Hodges told Petchenik he believes the District Attorney’s motive may be to liquidate Sneiderman’s defense fund.
“If Mr. James is using the resources of the state to take away her competent, capable counsel, I think that raises some due-process violations,” he told Petchenik.