September 2015 Issue - page 4

Page 4
September 2015
PENNSYLVANIA EQUESTRIAN
Rojas Latest to be Indicted in Penn National Probe
FBI Press release
The United States Attorney’s
Office for the Middle District of
Pennsylvania announced August
12 that a grand jury in Harrisburg
has indicted a local thoroughbred
horse trainer on charges of wire
fraud and conspiracy.
According to United StatesAt-
torney Peter Smith, Murray L. Ro-
jas, age 49, of Grantville, Pa., was
charged in a five count indictment
with wire fraud and conspiracy for
conduct related to 11 races in which
she had horses entered at Penn Na-
tional Race Course in early 2013.
The indictment alleges that
Rojas directed and conspired with
unnamed and unindicted cocon-
spirator veterinarian(s) to adminis-
ter substances to horses on the day
the horses were entered to race, in
violation of the Pennsylvania law
and racing rules and regulations
prohibiting the administering of
those substances.
The indictment further alleges
that steps were taken to conceal
this conduct by the backdating of
invoices for the sale and admin-
istration of drugs to the horses on
race day, as well as submitting
fraudulent veterinarian treatment
reports to the Pennsylvania Racing
Commission. The purse money for
the races is funded by the inter-
state electronic transfer of funds
and the transmission of these
funds that are used to pay success-
ful owners/trainers is essential to
the alleged scheme to defraud.
The indictment also alleges
that Rojas obtained winnings to-
taling $52,360 from the 11 races
in which it is alleged she directed
the administration of prohibited
substances to her horses.
The case was investigated
by the Harrisburg Office of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
and Pennsylvania Department
of Agriculture’s Horse Racing
Commission. Prosecution is as-
signed to Assistant United States
Attorney William A. Behe.
Indictments are only alle-
gations. All persons charged are
presumed to be innocent unless
and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding
of guilt is imposed by the Judge af-
ter consideration of the applicable
federal sentencing statutes and the
Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under
federal law is 20 years of imprison-
ment on each count, a term of super-
vised release following imprison-
ment, and a fine. Under the Federal
Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is
also required to consider and weigh
a number of factors, including the
nature, circumstances and serious-
ness of the offense; the history and
characteristics of the defendant;
and the need to punish the defen-
dant, protect the public and provide
for the defendant’s educational,
vocational and medical needs. For
these reasons, the statutory maxi-
mum penalty for the offense is not
an accurate indicator of the potential
sentence for a specific defendant.
The veterinarians who
allegedly were involved were not
named in the indictment, but four
vets, Renee Nodine of Annville,
Fernando Motta of Lancaster,
Kevin Brophy of Florida and
Christopher Korte of Colorado
are awaiting sentencing after
pleading guilty to federal charges
that they drugged horses at Penn
National. Their plea agreements
require them to cooperate with
the ongoing state-federal probe.
Other trainers and a Penn Na-
tional clocker have also been indicted
on fraud charges in recent years.
The Pennsylvania Horse-
men's Benevolent and Protective
Association, which represents all
horse trainers at Penn National,
released a statement hours after
Rojas, a member of the PHBPA
board and two time leading train-
er at Penn National, was indicted,
Pennlive.com reported.
"Despite today's news, it's im-
portant to note that our trainers par-
ticipate in one of the most rigorous
drug testing systems in place through
the University of Pennsylvania's
Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology and
Research Lab and pass 99.5 percent
of all tests," the association report-
edly said. "Fair, legal competition is
our highest priority. We were one
of the first organizations of horse
trainers in the country to voluntari-
ly implement third-party admin-
istration of race day treatments,
banning private veterinarians from
treatment stalls – now considered a
national standard."
Ray Paulick tweeted that
despite the indictment, a horse
trained by Rojas was allowed to
race in Penn National’s fourth
race on August 12.
2
nd
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