Horse trainer sentenced to prison for rigging races

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Horse Racing and Drugs: Part Two

A Central Pennsylvania thoroughbred horse trainer was sentenced to prison for rigging races. David J. Wells, who raced horses Penn National Race Course in Grantville was sentenced to 5 years intermediate punishment with the first 6 months in prison. The first 3 months are to be served in the Dauphin County Prison followed by 3 month’s confinement in Dauphin County Prison’s secure work release center.

Wells, 50, plead guilty in December to rigging races by administering drugs to horses on race day in violation of rules and regulations banning such treatment. Wells admitted that he illegally administered drugs, either orally or by hypodermic injection, to horses he trained and raced in order to give him and his horses an advantage in the races. Wells admitted that he knew he was breaking the law 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 activity 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 U.S. District Court on federal wire fraud charges in November 2013 and pleaded guilty on July 22, 2014.
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. Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe was specially appointed by
Dauphin County District Attorney Edward Marsico as a Special Assistant District Attorney to handle the Wells prosecution and other related prosecutions that may arise from the ongoing federal investigation.

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