Penn National horse trainer convicted of 14 felony counts after directing veterinarians to administer drugs on race day

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Exploring Drug Use Within Horse Racing

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.–A Penn National horse trainer is convicted of 14 felony counts of misbranding prescription drugs on race day and conspiracy.

Murray Rojas, 51, of Grantville, directed veterinarians to administer drugs to her horses on race day which was in violation of track rules and state law.

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the conspiracy involved 58 races and took place between 2002 and 2014.

During trial, the prosecution showed that steps were taken to conceal the illegal conduct by backdating invoices for the sale and drug administration on race day as well as the submission of fraudulent veterinarian treatment reports to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission.

Rojas was found not guilty of seven counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

An eight-day trial was followed by one day of deliberation by the jury, which returned the verdicts on June 30.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Horse Racing Commisison and the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations.

Several other individuals were prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in federal and state court. Danny Robertson, the official clocker charged with wire fraud, is ordered to pay a $2,500 fine on top of his one year of probation. Craig Lytel, a racing official, is also charged with wire fraud and is sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Three veterinarians — Renée Nodine, Kevin Brophy and Fernando Motta — await sentencing on misbranding and conspiracy charges. Owner and trainer David Wells was sentenced in February 2015 to three months’ imprisonment on a charge of rigging a publicly exhibited contest while Patricia Rogers and Samuel Webb, charged with the same offense, received an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition in Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.