FIRST DEFENDANT SENTENCED IN SERVIS-NAVARRO CASE
Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced March 9 that Scott Robinson was sentenced today to 18 months in prison in connection with Robinson’s years-long sale and distribution of adulterated and misbranded drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs marketed to racehorse trainers and others in the racehorse industry. Robinson pled guilty to a one-count Information on September 16, 2020, before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken, who also imposed today’s sentence.
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Robinson was one of more than two dozen defendants involved in an elaborate and far-ranging scheme whose highest-profile participants were allegedly then-top trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis. In 2019 Servis was the nation’s eighth-leading trainer by purse earnings (over $11 million), while Navarro ranked 16th. Both men won at higher rates than other high-profile trainers, with Servis scoring at a 29% clip and Navarro at 28%.
In this case, Strauss said, “Scott Robinson created and profited from a system designed to exploit racehorses in the pursuit of speed and prize money, risking their safety and wellbeing. Robinson sold unsanitary, misbranded, and adulterated drugs, and misled and deceived regulators and law enforcement in the process.”
According to the Indictment, the Superseding Information to which Robinson pled guilty, and other court documents, as well as statements made in public court proceedings:
From at least in or about 2011 through at least in or about March 2020, Robinson conspired with others to manufacture, sell, and ship millions of dollars’ worth of adulterated and misbranded equine drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs (“PEDs”) intended to be administered to racehorses for the purpose of improving those horses’ race performances in order to win races and obtain prize money. Robinson sold these drugs through several direct-to-consumer websites designed to appeal to racehorse trainers and owners, including, among others, “horseprerace.com.”
Robinson contributed to the conspiracy by, among other things, sourcing chemicals used to create custom PEDs that were advertised and sold; falsely labeling, packaging, and shipping those PEDs to customers across the country, including in the Southern District of New York; and collecting, reporting, and responding to employee and customer complaints regarding the misbranded and adulterated products advertised and sold online. Among the drugs advertised and sold during the course of the conspiracy were “blood builders,” which are used by racehorse trainers and others to increase red blood cell counts and/or the oxygenation of muscle tissue of a racehorse in order to stimulate the horse’s endurance, which enhances that horse’s performance in, and recovery from, a race, as well as customized analgesics that are used by racehorse trainers and others to deaden a horse’s nerves and block pain in order to improve a horse’s race performance. The drugs distributed through the defendant’s websites were manufactured in non-FDA registered facilities and carried significant risks to the animals affected through the administration of those illicit PEDs. For example, in 2016, Robinson received a complaint regarding the effect of his unregulated drugs on a customer’s horse: “starting bout 8 hours after I give the injection and for about 36 hours afterwards both my horses act like they are heavily sedated, can barely walk. Could I have a bad bottle of medicine, I’m afraid to give it anymore since this has happened three times.” Commenting on this complaint, Robinson wrote simply, “here is another one.”
In addition to his prison sentence, Robinson, 46, of Tampa, Florida, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and forfeiture of $3,832,318.90.