Jail for US trainer who drugged horses in race-rigging enterprise


eye-stockA thoroughbred horse trainer who admitted rigging races in Pennsylvania by injecting drugs has been jailed.

David J. Wells, 50, of Grantville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on Monday to six months in prison by Judge Deborah Curcillo when he appeared in Dauphin County Court in Harrisburg.

Wells received five years of intermediate punishment, with the first six months in prison. The first three months are to be served in the Dauphin County Prison, followed by three months’ confinement in Dauphin County Prison’s secure work release center, according to United States Attorney Peter Smith.

The offending related to races at Penn National Race Course in Grantville.

Wells was charged in October last year and pleaded guilty in December.

He admitted that he orally or by hypodermic injection illegally gave drugs to horses he trained and raced in order to give him and his horses a racing advantage.

Wells admitted that he was fully aware that his actions amounted to a violation of the criminal laws of Pennsylvania, as well as racing rules and regulations.

Wells also admitted that efforts were made to conceal this activity from the public and the Racing Commission. The offending took place between 2009 and 2013.

The prosecution stemmed from an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Racing Commission, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office into alleged wrongdoing in races at Penn National Race Course.

As part of the investigation, Daniel Robertson, the official clocker at Penn National, was indicted in the US District Court on federal wire fraud charges in November 2013 and pleaded guilty last July.

The Wells investigation was transferred to the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution of the violation of state law as part of plea negotiations between Wells and the United States.


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