A former Penn National clocker accused of falsifying workout times at that track has agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and to cooperate with the government in additional prosecutions. In return, the government will drop a second count, of using an interstate facility to promote gambling, and recommend a lighter-than-maximum sentence.
Danny Robertson will plead guilty to having used “wire, radio, and television communication in interstate and foreign commerce” to carry out a scheme to defraud and to deprive his employer — Hollywood Casino and Racetrack (Penn National) — of his “honest services.”
In the scheme, which the government claims went on for more than five years, from the beginning of 2008 until October of 2013, Robertson “would accept money from trainers… to provide false workout times for the trainers’ horses…” Because Robertson was the person responsible for providing those times to Equibase, the falsified times then became part of the horses’ official records and appeared in past performance data.
A trainer looking to cash a bet might wish to falsify a workout time, for example, to make a speedy work appear to be ordinary or even slow, thus “darkening” the horse’s form and making the horse less attractive to bettors. That could drive up the horse’s wagering odds.
The original indictment had included a second count accusing Robertson of rigging or attempting to rig a “publicly exhibited contest” in violation of Pennsylvania laws. The government will drop that count in return for the guilty plea and Robertson’s future cooperation.
Robertson will remain on the hook for potential tax prosecution.
The grand jury had indicted Robertson, along with trainers Samuel Webb, David Wells, and Patricia Rogers, in November 2013. The U.S. Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in June dismissed the charges against Webb because, the court said, the government “failed to state an offense.” According to the Paulick Report (here, with links to indictments and other documents), attorney for Wells and Rogers are attempting to hammer out plea agreements with the government.