Former trainer David Wells will serve three months in prison and three additional months in a work-release center, and he will also be on probation for 4 1/2 years, the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News reported on its pennlive.com website today.
Wells had pleaded guilty to fraud charges as a result of a federal investigation that netted him along with two other trainers — Patricia Rogers and Samuel Webb — and clocker Danny Robertson, all based at Penn National.
According to a press release accompanying the original indictment in the case brought by the US Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Wells “would routinely inject prohibited substances into horses he trained… by use of hypodermic syringes and needles and otherwise. It is also alleged that Wells was routinely in possession of those prohibited items at the racetrack.”
The four had been arrested in November of 2013, with the case moved to Dauphin County Court this past December.
Wells’s attorney, Jerry Russo, argued for leniency, noting that his client’s career was in shambles. Wells has lost his trainer’s license; the final start made by a runner in his name came on November 21, 2013 — the day before he was arrested. His runners had earned more than $1 million in each of the three years prior to his arrest. Russo said that Wells had been trying to earn a living since by boarding and transporting horses.
Russo also argued that Wells merely was doing what he felt necessary to compete in an industry he described as rampant with cheating, but judge Deborah Curcillo apparently rejected those claims, siding instead with Assistant U.S. Attorney William A. Behe, who called Wells a “liar.”
Wells is the second of the four to receive his sentence; Robertson received a year’s probation for falsifying workout times. Webb and Rogers have not yet stood trial.