If you were Dunwoody’s Andrea Sneiderman, the past two weeks would not have been a good period in your life.
On Aug. 2, she was indicted by a DeKalb grand jury on eight counts of malice murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, perjury (two counts), false statements (two counts) insurance fraud and racketeering related to the 2010 murder of her husband Rusty Sneiderman in Dunwoody.
Andrea Sneiderman was arrested that same day at her Lake Oconee home and incarcerated in the DeKalb County Jail, where she will remain at least until a bond hearing in DeKalb Superior Court scheduled for Aug. 21.
In the meantime, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James froze nearly $2.3 million of the widow’s assets, one day after she was charged with conspiring with her former boss, Hemy Neuman, to kill her husband. Neuman was sentenced to life in prison without parole in March for the Nov. 18, 2010 fatal shooting of Rusty Sneiderman outside a Dunwoody daycare facility.
The money involved came mostly from two life insurance policies, totaling $2 million, for which Andrea Sneiderman was the beneficiary. According to the complaint for forfeiture, those assets “were obtained through a pattern of racketeering activity.”
The seizure action by DA James was considered by some to be very unusual in that the state was not acting on behalf of the insurance company, which could sue to reclaim the assets. The seizure of funds could make it difficult to pay for her defense.
Andrea Sneiderman has denied any involvement in her husband’s killing.
Also on Aug. 3, Dunwoody attorney Esther Panitch filed a motion in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of Rusty Sneiderman’s family seeking emergency custody of their two grandchildren, Sophia and Ian.
The three petitions submitted by Panitch that day established her as the counsel for the family members, added Rusty’s brother Steven and his wife Lisa to the grandparents’ lawsuit for visitation rights and naming of a guardian for the children, and asked for the emergency action to turn primary custody of the children over to the Sneiderman’s.
As part of the court filing, the ethics of Andrea’s parents in assuming custody of the grandchildren is challenged on the basis that Andrea’s brother, Todd Greenberg, according to the document, participated in erasing material from Andrea’s personal computer prior to the Dunwoody Police being able to examine it.
The filing by Panitch asserts that Dunwoody Police showed up at the home of Andrea’s parents, Herb and Bonita Greenberg, on the day of Rusty’s murder seeking to search for evidence, including examining Andrea’s personal computer. They reportedly were turned away by Andrea’s father and told to come back the following day.
The police returned Nov. 19 and reportedly were told by Andrea’s family that some data had been removed from the computer. It is unknown if that was purely personal data and photos or may have been potential evidence—possibly related to the alleged affair between Andrea and her boss Hemy Neuman.
Panitch also requested that she be allowed to depose Andrea in the DeKalb County Jail on Aug. 10, in relation to the civil case with her in-laws over her two children. That was the original deposition schedule, set before Andrea’s arrest.
However, lawyers for Sneiderman successfully argued before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Bensonetta Tipton Lane to grant a continuance of the deposition until after Andrea’s bond hearing. Her attorneys’ motion argued the 36-year-old mother of two is “focused on the charges made against her” and her incarceration has “limited their ability to effectively prepare for the deposition.”
In a response filed Aug. 7, Panitch argued she has successfully prepared clients before in jail and that “should not interfere” with opposing counsel Howard Gold’s ability to instruct his client prior to the deposition. She added, “It is entirely possible that [Sneiderman] may be denied bond.”
Judge Lane specifically prohibited questions about Sneiderman’s financial situation during the deposition and ruled she would reserve judgment on inquiries about Rusty Sneiderman’s murder.
Panitch has suggested Judge Lane’s rulings may need to be revisited following Andrea’s arrest on the eight charges.
Since Andrea’s arrest, the battle over how Rusty Sneiderman’s parents get to see his children, has also taken another turn. In court records filed Aug. 8, his parents said Andrea Sneiderman’s attorneys have canceled all visitations with the children since her arrest.
Last month, Andrea Sneiderman’s attorneys told Judge Lane she did not need to order visitation because the grandparents had been regularly allowed to Skype with their grandkids every week. But those chats have stopped since her arrest.
Panitch filed a motion Aug. 8 requesting that Lane order Andrea Sneiderman’s parents to facilitate the weekly Internet (Skype) phone conversations with the children. In the filing, Panitch calls it, “A retaliatory and punitive measure,” accusing Andrea of, “using her children as pawns.”
Andrea’ defense attorney Doug Chalmers had sent an email to Panitch stating there would be no contact via Skype “at least until the bond hearing. We will revisit the issue at that time.”