4 accused of rigging horse races at Penn National

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Three horse trainers and an employee of Penn National Race Course in Grantville have been arrested on federal fraud charges in connection with races they allegedly rigged at the track, federal prosecutors said Friday.

U.S. Attorney Peter Smith identified those indicted as David Wells, 39, of Grantville; Sam Webb, 63, of Jonestown; Patricia Anne Rogers, 43, of Hummelstown; and Danny Robertson, 63, of Hershey.

Smith said Wells, Webb and Rogers, all horse trainers, are accused of devising a scheme to rig thoroughbred races at Penn National and defraud bettors by giving horses substances that are prohibited within 24 hours of a race.

Robertson, a clocker who provided racing officials, bettors and others with workout times for horses, is accused of providing false times in exchange for cash from the trainers, Smith said.

In some cases, Robertson completely fabricated times for horses that did not even work out at the track, the indictment states.

According to the indictment, track security on May 2 caught Webb in a stall with hypodermic needles and bottles of medications that he was preparing to inject into a horse he trained. Officials scratched the horse from its race that day.

Officials on Aug. 21 also scratched a horse trained by Rogers after security caught her in a stall with medications she was either injecting or attempting to inject, the indictment states.

Wells for several years up to and including Feb. 2012 routinely gave prohibited substances to horses he trained and owned, according to the indictment.

The indictment also alleges that it is a violation of state law to rig or attempt to rig a publicly exhibited contest such as a horse race. Penn National races are simulcast to approximately 116 off-track betting sites across the United States and in other countries.

Robertson and Wells were charged with wire fraud while Rogers and Webb were charged with attempted wire fraud, both punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Each faces an additional charge they defrauded or attempting to defraud the public through the rigging of a publicly exhibited contest, punishable by an additional five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Rogers faces an additional count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a possible additional sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Penn National officials in a statement said Robertson has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

Any possible action against the trainers, who are not employees of Penn National, is pending a determination by the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission on the status of their licenses, the company said.

Penn National said it is taking the matter very seriously and will cooperate fully with law enforcement.

 

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