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Jim Gagliano, the President and CEO of the Jockey Club, discusses the recent horse drugging indictments and the intricate investigations that led to them.   President & Chief Operating Officer   James L. Gagliano became president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, the breed registry for all Thoroughbred horses in North America, on January 1, 2010. He had served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer for The Jockey Club since June 2005. Prior to joining The Jockey Club’s management team, Gagliano served as executive vice president of Magna Entertainment Corporation’s Maryland racing operations, where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Maryland Jockey Club. He also served as president, MEC OTB, and group vice president, MEC Northern Group. Before that, Gagliano served as executive vice president and general manager of Greenwood Racing Inc. and worked in various roles during a 10-year stint with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. James L. Gagliano Since October 2010, he has served as vice chairman representing the Americas for the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ Executive Council. In January 2013, he was elected to the American Horse Council board of trustees for which he was elected vice chairman in June 2015 and chairman in 2018. In June 2016, he was named to the Humane Society of the United States National Horse Racing Advisory Council. In addition, he was elected to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance board of directors in December 2016. Gagliano has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Providence College.   While signaling that there's lots more to come, he also talks about his overwhelming support of Jeff Gural, USADA and the Horseracing Integrity Act. - It's a 'must be listened to' broadcast...!!!        

Meadowlands Racetrack operator Jeff Gural is an extremely successful — and wealthy — real estate mogul who, now in his late 70s, is very comfortable with revealing his state of mind. And when it comes to horse racing, Gural on numerous occasions has been quite straightforward about the daunting challenges ahead as his track struggles to survive. It’s no easy task, when competing with racetracks in New York and Pennsylvania that receive hundreds of millions of dollars in annual subsidies from slot machine revenues from those tracks. So when Gural told njonlinegambling.com on Wednesday his very optimistic sentiments about the recent horse racing doping scandal, it’s particularly worth noting. More than two dozen industry figures were swept up in indictments March 9 after a federal investigation uncovered evidence of the alleged scheme that crossed both the standardbred and thoroughbred industries. For the past decade, Gural has been banning trainers that he had come to believe were cheating, often taking public criticism from those horsemen and also others interested in the industry over his “playing sheriff” without incontrovertible proof. Now Gural says he feels “100%” vindicated, particularly given that some of the trainers he had banned were named in the indictment. Wire taps worked “We cannot just rely on drug testing, as we have been doing, because it doesn’t work,” Gural said. “Having a federal investigation, with the use of wire taps — that’s the way to go to catch them. I really believe that from now on, no one will be using these illegal drugs because it’s too risky. “We accomplished something by getting rid of the bad guys. It will be interesting, once we get back to racing, if certain trainers are still racing — and how they perform,” Gural added. The fact of the investigation did not surprise Gural, because he and The Jockey Club for the past four years have paid the 5 Stones investigative firm to look into such allegations. “We were very much aware of the FBI investigating, but I didn’t personally know who they were investigating. I had to read the names when the indictments came out,” Gural said. “I feel like we really accomplished something, and I understand there could be more arrests coming. And some might find it in their interest to cooperate.” The timing of the March 9 indictments was unusual. The COVID-19 pandemic already had begun to dominate the news cycle, and two days later the NBA suspended its regular season after a player tested positive for the virus. That swept the doping scandal off the front pages and virtual front pages in the U.S. and in numerous countries where horse racing remains quite popular. Mixed feelings on indictments timing “Part of me is glad that the sport didn’t get as much of a black eye,” Gural said. “But if not for all this about the virus, people would be demanding we make changes right away. “My concern is that this all shows we must turn oversight over to the federal government. It’s not fair that I should have to pay for this [initial investigation]. “We can’t have 30 different states trying to catch these trainers — we need a law passed in Congress,” Gural added. The Jockey Club, as well as Gural, supports the Horseracing Integrity Act pending in Congress, which calls for a single anti-doping authority to oversee rules of testing of medications that might give particular trainers and their horses an unfair advantage — an edge that could even prove fatal for those horses at times. Monmouth Park operator Dennis Drazin, whose track’s seven-time defending champion trainer was swept up in the indictments, has called for even more sweeping reforms in light of the indictments. Meadowlands — back to business? The worldwide pandemic has shuttered the Meadowlands Racetrack, a mecca for harness racing since it opened in 1976, for more than three weeks. Gural said his employees have had to be furloughed, although he said he is still paying for their health insurance. “Maybe hurting the most are the trainers and grooms, who have no income,” Gural said. “And nobody knows what to do with their horses. Maybe we can get back to racing soon, even if it’s without any customers.” Aqueduct Raceway in Queens tried the latter approach last month, only to shut down after a backstretch worker who lives at Belmont Park and worked at Aqueduct tested positive for the virus. Gural said that the Meadowlands is helped by the fact that horses have not stabled at his East Rutherford track for a number of years. “We have a plan for how to practice social distancing of employees, we can check the temperature of everyone who comes in, and so forth,” Gural said. Asked if that could mean a return to live racing in mere weeks, not months, Gural said, “I hope so. People are definitely looking for something to bet on.” By John Brennan Reprinted with permission of New Jersey Online Gambling

Perhaps the biggest scandal in all of U.S. sports to come out in the past year is the federal indictment of dozens of thoroughbred and harness racing insiders alleged to have been involved in doping leading racehorses. And while the initial indictments came on March 9, other indictments trickled out even as the COVID-19 disaster overtook virtually the entire news cycle. But the stunning allegations are no less stunning because of the timing. The main indictment had as its stars Monmouth Park thoroughbred big names Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis — but later ones placed Yonkers Raceway and its harness racing leading lights in its target. The Yonkers horse racing community already was reeling from the deaths of three trainers from COVID-19, including the first fatality of a New Jersey resident. Rene Allard, who at $5.8 million in purse winnings was third in the industry in North America last year, has been charged in a conspiracy involving longtime veterinarian Louis Grasso, who was indicted on Feb. 26 for allegedly misbranding drugs in interstate commerce. Last fall, according to the indictment, Grasso and another alleged co-conspirator, Ross Cohen, discussed the fact that a number of Allard’s horses had died. The disturbing conversation Cohen, according to the indictment, asked Grasso, “What’s going on with the Allard death camp?” Grasso then said “two or maybe three” horses have died from “amino acids” that caused “high fever, kidneys shut down.” “One of them just died on the table, they just cut him open and poof it died,” Grasso is alleged to have said. Cohen: “Holy f-ck f-ck did they do an autopsy.” Grasso: “Their heart rate was like triple they were breathing real heavy their membranes were going f-cking purple.” Allard — second in earnings at Yonkers so far this year — also is alleged to have sent a text message to Grasso in October 2019 that read: “I will need 3 bottles of red Acid [an anti-inflammatory drug] to go to canada Thursday.” Per the indictment, a barn raid on March 9 in Middletown, N.Y. — where Allard stabled a number of horses — led to the discovery of multiple syringes and numerous bottles of mislabeled drugs. Other harness racing figures indicted Also named is Donato Poliseno, owner of a veterinary supply business in Delaware who is alleged to have purchased and distributed PEDs from Grasso. Trainers Thomas Guido III and Conor Flynn are alleged to have obtained the PEDs from Grasso as well. Richard Banca, the leading trainer at Yonkers Raceway so far this year, was named in a separate indictment on similar charges and employed Flynn. Banca owns the Middletown, N.Y. facility that was raided, according to his indictment. “Flynn has stated, in substance and in part, that Flynn administers horses owned, trained, or otherwise under Banca’ s control, with PEDs at Banca’s direction,” the indictment alleges. Banca first rose up to the top ranks at Yonkers in 2015, producing 174 winners — more than double his previous best — and another 200 in 2016. Allard and Banca were the two trainers involved in a controversy at the Meadowlands Racetrack in 2017, when each — already banned at that track by owner Jeff Gural — turned over the reins of horses that were then allowed to race. Among the PEDs involved aside from “red acid”: Erythropoietin, better known by brand name Epogen and nicknamed “epo” in the industry and designed to improve endurance A variety of “pain shots” or “joint blocks” designed to deaden a horse’s nerves, which can result in leg fractures that require a racehorse to be euthanized Bronchodilators, or “Bronk,” designed to increase a horse’s oxygen intake The latest indictments, if proven, echo the callousness for the welfare of racehorses demonstrated in the Navarro and Servis indictments. In February 2019, Servis is alleged to have warned Navarro via text about a racing official. Navarro then allegedly told another conspirator, “He would have caught our asses f-cking pumping and pumping and fuming every f-cking horse that runs today.” By John Brennan John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record. Reprinted with permission of The njonlinegambling.com

Surveillance Firm Played Role in Federal Indictments The Jockey Club, Meadowlands employ 5 Stones intelligence. During the past four years, The Jockey Club and Meadowlands Racetrack have retained the services of a leading international investigative company, and that association might have paid a dividend in the recent federal indictments of Thoroughbred trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro as well as several harness racing trainers in a doping scheme. Through the recommendation of officials from the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency, The Jockey Club turned to 5 Stones intelligence in 2016 to provide confidential investigative services.  "It is vitally important to the sport that it is regulated competently and by authorities that are independent," said James Gagliano, the president and chief operating officer for The Jockey Club. "That is a hallmark of the Horseracing Integrity Act, and it has never been more important to the sport, given the events of this week." Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural, who operates a harness racing meet at the New Jersey racetrack, said he also employed 5 Stones and that information from 5 Stones played a role in the federal indictments of 29 people that were announced March 9-11 by the United States District Attorney, Southern District of New York. "We participated with The Jockey Club in retaining (5 Stones) to help lead the FBI in the right direction," Gural said. Gagliano said The Jockey Club is continuing its engagement with 5 Stones. He added that the indictments illustrate horse racing's urgent need to support passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which calls for a single non-governmental, anti-doping authority to oversee medication rules and testing. "This crisis has to be a rallying point for the sport," Gagliano said. "In my view, passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act will lay the foundation for a once-in-a-century system change that puts welfare and integrity as the guiding principles of how the sport is regulated." Gural echoed the call for passage of the HIA, saying racetracks have been turning a blind eye to cheaters for far too long. "All the racetrack owners in the country who said they cared about this didn't care. They had to know the only way to catch these guys was through undercover and surveillance companies. Without them, you were just giving lip service that you cared," Gural said. "There's no gray area when it comes to honesty. Everyone knew the system was broken, but no one cared about it. There's no way we can tell people in politics that we care if we don't let the USADA take over. The funny thing is that when I would talk to people who oppose the government taking over, the next thing I would ask is if the current system is working, and 100% would say no. I don't understand that. They knew the system wasn't working, and they were happy with it.  "If we don't bring in the USADA now and get behind the (HIA), we should shut down the sport. It would say we really don't care." According to the company website, "5 Stones intelligence is a leading intelligence and investigative company based in Miami, with offices throughout the world. 5Si possesses the world's largest private HUMINT intelligence network and supports intelligence collection and analysis, global investigations, and operations support for Governments and corporations." Servis, who trains recent Saudi Cup winner Maximum Security, who was disqualified from first to 17th in last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), and Navarro, the seven-time leading trainer at Monmouth Park, are scheduled to be arraigned March 23 on charges of a misbranding conspiracy.  BloodHorse reported March 14 that Servis and Navarro could appear before the New York federal court for arraignment and initial conference either in person or by telephone conference in a concession to travel difficulties because of COVID-19. The indictment charged that Servis had performance-enhancing drugs administered to "virtually all of the racehorses under his care" and that Navarro orchestrated "a widespread scheme of covertly obtaining and administering various adulterated and misbranded PEDs to horses under his control." Navarro is facing two counts of the misbranding charge, each carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Servis was charged with one count and could be imprisoned for up to five years if found guilty. Among the harness trainers indicted are Rene Allard, who was third in North American earnings last year, Richard Banca, Nick Surick, Chris Oakes, Chris Marino, Rick Dane Jr., and assistant trainer Conor Flynn. Allard, Banca, Oakes and Marino were barred by Gural from racing at Meadowlands prior to the indictments. Banca and Allard are the runaway leaders at the current Yonkers Raceway meet, combining for 367 wins in 2020 before racing was suspended due to COVID-19 after the March 9 card. Gural believes there will be more indictments in the weeks and months to come. "People will (provide information to authorities)," Gural said. "Anyone who used these people who were indicted cannot be sleeping well." By Bob Ehalt Reprinted with permission of bloodhorse.com

Harness racing trainer Richard Banca has become the 28th person identified in the horse doping scandal that yielded indictments against some of the biggest names in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing. Banca’s name was not among those listed when indictments were announced Monday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He was arrested Monday and released after posting a $200,000 personal recognizance bond. That another name has surfaced fuels speculation that the investigation launched by the FBI and the Department of Justice will yield more names, perhaps many more. The court documents regarding Banca include a deposition from FBI agent Bruce Turpin, who links Banca to Louis Grasso and Conor Flynn, who were among the 27 indicted Monday. Like the others, Banca is being charged with “misbranding” drugs. Turpin testified that Banca’s property in Middletown, NY was searched Mar. 9 and that the FBI found a number of illegal substances and handwritten notes with instructions on how to administer those drugs. Turpin lays out a scenario where Flynn, Grasso and Banca worked together to illegally administer drugs to horses and says that Flynn was Banca’s assistant. “I have learned that Grasso has, on multiple occasions, supplied Flynn with adulterated and misbranded performance-enhancing drugs for Flynn to administer–or deliver to others to administer–to racehorses,” Turpin testified. In further testimony, Turpin reports: “Based on my discussions with an agent who has spoken with a confidential source, I have learned that Flynn has stated, in substance and in part, that Flynn administers horses owned, trained, or otherwise under Banca’s control, with PEDs at Banca’s direction. In 2011, Banca was sanctioned by the New York Racing and Wagering Board for Oxymetazoline violations and given a 90-day suspension and a $1,000 fine. Banca, 34, has won 1,695 races, including 42 this year. After never having more than 82 winners in a year, his win total shot up to 174 in 2015 and he won 200 races in 2016. The horses he had entered Monday night at Yonkers were scratched. By Bill Finley Reprinted with permission of The Thoroughbred Daily News

A Victorian harness racing trainer-driver has been disqualified for six years, after admitting to injecting a horse with potassium so stewards wouldn't find out it had been fixed for a race. Scott Dyer has also admitted to acting corruptly by being aware that another trainer had fixed horses by 'drenching' them. Drenching involves putting a tube down a horse's throat to put substances into them that give them an unfair advantage on the track. Dyer pleaded guilty to five breaches of Australian Harness Racing Rules over the incidents in December 2014, at a hearing of the Harness Racing Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in May. It disqualified him from training and driving for seven years and 34 days, but he asked the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to review the decision. The breaches came to light when police intercepted calls made by another registered trainer, Larry Eastman, between October and December 2014. The calls revealed that on December 8, after the horse Waterslide had won a race at Charlton and stewards called for a post-race blood sample, Dyer injected the animal with potassium to hide the substances that had been put into it earlier to give it a racing edge. He also drove the horse Sukovia in Horsham on December 15, after discussing with Eastman that another horse, Dynamic Dick, would be stomach tubed. Before another race in Swan Hill on December 2, Dyer was also aware through Eastman that the horse Cashisking would receive the same treatment. Eastman went on to plead guilty to five criminal offences, including using corrupt conduct information for betting purposes and engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event. He was convicted and fined $20,000. In reviewing Dyer's case, VCAT member Reynah Tang decided a disqualification of 10 years and four months would fit the bill. But he discounted the penalty to six years when considering Dyer's guilty plea and the delay in his case coming before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board. He also considered the potential impact of the disqualification of his depression, which a psychiatrist confirmed he had been dealing with since 2013. There was also a lack of evidence that Dyer had benefited financially from the offending and he remained on the Newstart Allowance, Mr Tang said. By Marnie Banger   Australian Associated Press       VIC - VCAT Decision - Scott Dyer 15 November 2019   On 14 November 2019, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) released its decision in relation to an application for review lodged by former licensed person Scott Dyer regarding a decision of the Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on 22 May 2019. Background On 22 May 2019, Mr Dyer pleaded guilty at a HRV RAD Board hearing to five charges that related to a Victoria Police investigation that lead to criminal charges being issued against licensed trainer Larry Eastman. The HRV RAD Board determined charges regarding Mr Dyer interfering with a post-race blood sample; failing to drive a horse on its merits; possession of a syringe containing the substance potassium on a racecourse; and corrupt or improper conduct in relation to information he had about the prerace stomach-tubing of ‘Cashisking’ on 2 December 2014 and ‘Dynamite Dick’ on 15 December 2014. Mr Dyer was disqualified for a period of 8 years. The HRV RAD Board media release can be found here. VCAT Hearing On 8 October 2019, VCAT Member Tang heard submissions from Allan McMonnies for Mr Dyer and Adrian Anderson for HRV. In the VCAT Decision, dated 14 November 2019, Member Tang set aside the penalty decision of the HRV RAD Board, and in its place substituted a total effective disqualification of six years. Mr Dyer will be disqualified until 25 June 2024. The full VCAT decision can be viewed here. Harness Racing Victoria

Columbus, OH - Following the U.S. Trotting Association's 2019 Board of Directors Annual Meeting held March 8-11 in Columbus, OH, the USTA's Call to Action Subcommittee issued the following announcement regarding the issue of harness racing hidden trainers on Thursday (March 14). At the Call to Action Subcommittee meeting on Friday night (March 8) the committee updated their plan regarding the initiative to prohibit hidden trainers from continuing to ply their unethical trade by using program trainers (commonly referred to as "beard" trainers) when that hidden trainer is banned from being licensed or has been suspended. "The essence of the beard trainer problem is that trainers currently under suspension or whose license has been denied are conducting business as usual, they are making a mockery out of the industry," said Call to Action Committee Chairman Mark Loewe. "Currently, we have to rely on the state regulators and licensing is their only tool to combat this problem." "It is important to note that beard trainers are cooperating in a scheme to defraud the regulators and the public, so they are also culpable," added Loewe. USTA Director and Subcommittee member Joe Faraldo previously presented the concept of "regulatory discovery" to end this unethical practice. Essentially, regulatory discovery requires suspected beard trainers to provide a series of documents to regulators, who could examine the flow of money and other communication to ascertain they are just acting as a shill for the hidden, unlicensed trainer. If so, the beard trainer would also be suspended or have his or her license application rejected. "It is important to note that this process is not expensive for the regulators because it requires no additional detectives or other investigatory expense" explained USTA President Russell Williams. "And it should also be noted that it is very likely that it won't be necessary to get every commission to adopt regulatory discovery or to catch every beard trainer. A few prosecutions will go a long way," added Williams. The USTA first presented the regulatory discovery concept at Association of Racing Commissioners International meetings in Omaha, NE last July, and will pursue it to a conclusion. As a result, the proposal was assigned to an ARCI subcommittee for further consideration. The committee determined that they will submit it again for discussion at the ARCI meeting scheduled for August 8-10 in Saratoga Springs, NY. The USTA is also prepared to take the concept directly to regulators, track operators and horsemen's organizations. In fact, Faraldo indicated that the policy has already been implemented at Yonkers Raceway, where he is the president of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. At this year's Call to Action Subcommittee meeting, the committee drafted three proposals regarding guidelines for regulatory discovery to be distributed to racing commissions, racetracks, and horsemen's associations, respectively. In addition, the USTA is also looking at its own licensing and membership structure to determine whether it can act as an association to implement regulatory discovery. Ken Weingartner

Harness racing trainer Brett Edwards has forfeited more than $36,000 in cash seized in a raid by the armed defenders squad in 2013. The cash forfeited was part of the $72,000 the Ministry for Primary Industries seized in September of 2013 in an investigation dubbed "Operation Partridge", for a suspected fraud of the fish quota system. Edwards claimed $26,000 of the the cash was from having $1000 at $20.00(win) and $1000 at $6.00 (place) on a race horse he trained called Dauntless and the rest came from a returned house deposit and from selling golf balls and firewood. Edwards was sentenced to five months community detention and 100 hours community work after admitting his guilt to some of the charges in the investigation. For more detail in this case read the two linked reports by Phil Taylor in the NZ Herald. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12095828 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12106669 Harnesslink Media  

On 25 January 2018, licensed trainer/driver Mr Larry Eastman was convicted in the Bendigo Magistrates Court of five criminal charges that included using corrupt conduct information for betting purposes and engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome of an event. Subsequently, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Stewards have issued a charge against Mr Larry Eastman under Australian Harness Racing Rule (AHRR) 267 which states: Subject to sub-rule (2) the Stewards may for such period and on such conditions as they think fit, disqualify a person who is found guilty of a crime or an offence in any State or Territory of Australia or in any country. As a result of Mr Eastman’s conviction and through further investigations by HRV Stewards, charges have also been issued against the following licensed persons;  Mr Scott Dyer (8 charges), Ms Lynette Eastman (3 Charges) and Mr Danny O’Bree (2 Charges). All charges will be heard by the HRV Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.     Harness Racing Victoria

An aggrieved harness racing bettor has gone to court to recoup more than $31,000 in winnings he said he was cheated out of when a doped horse won a race in New Jersey two years ago. Leading figures in harness racing said they had never before heard of such a lawsuit, which accuses the trainer of fraud and racketeering. The general practice is to reallocate the purse to other owners in the event a winning horse is later proven to have been doped, but not to pay back bettors. The trainer's lawyer said the lawsuit was flawed, and that he might demand its retraction. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, represents an effort by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to open the gates for more litigation by bettors, which the animal rights group hopes would dramatically curtail illegal horse doping. PETA contends that injured horses are sometimes dying on the tracks because they were doped illegally or overmedicated to keep them running when they should be recuperating. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jeffrey Tretter, an experienced gambler from Granite City, Illinois. The lawsuit says Tretter placed wagers through an online betting site on a harness race at the Meadowlands Racetrack on Jan. 15, 2016. The horses he picked to place first through fourth instead finished behind Tag Up and Go, who had been a longshot in the race. Meadowlands later revealed that Tag Up and Go had tested positive for EPO, a banned performance-enhancing substance, based on blood samples taken in December. As a result, trainer Robert Bresnahan Jr. was barred from competing at Meadowlands, but there was no redress for bettors such as Tretter. According to his lawsuit, he correctly picked the horses that finished second, third, fourth and fifth behind the doped horse in a variety of wagers that would have paid a combined $31,835 if Tag Up and Go had been disqualified. The lawsuit alleges fraud on the part of Bresnahan and the company that owned Tag Up and Go. It also alleges violations of the federal and state anti-racketeering laws known as RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), contending that the federal law was violated because Bresnahan was engaging in interstate commerce. The suit asks that Tretter be recompensed for his lost winnings in the race and be awarded additional punitive damages. Bresnahan, who runs a stable in Manalapan, New Jersey, referred The Associated Press to his lawyer, Howard Taylor, who said the lawsuit would not hold up in court. According to Taylor, the testing involving Tag Up and Go has no official standing in the U.S. legal system because it was conducted at a racing lab in Hong Kong. He also said the suspension imposed by the Meadowlands on Bresnahan was the act of a private business, and did not represent any official finding of wrongdoing by the trainer. Taylor said he planned to contact the New Jersey law office representing Tretter, demanding that they retract the lawsuit and apologize to Bresnahan. "If not, we're looking into filing a suit for libel," Taylor said. In February 2016, Bresnahan issued a statement insisting he neither administered EPO to Tag Up and Go, nor authorized anyone else to do so. "This news was a complete shock to me and obviously very upsetting," he wrote. Shortly after that statement appeared, Meadowlands announced that a second horse of Bresnahan's had tested positive for EPO. Bresnahan also was fined and suspended for 60 days for illegally administering the painkiller oxymorphone to a horse called Mr. Caviar in 2012, according to the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. The owner of Meadowlands, Jeff Gural, has been among the leaders in harness racing trying to curb doping. The Tag Up and Go doping case emerged through one of his initiatives, establishing "out of competition" drug testing that subjects horses to the possibility of testing at any time. But he said unscrupulous trainers are constantly changing tactics to avoid detection. "It's a cat and mouse game, the same as in human sports," Gural said. "They know what drugs are being tested for — they try to stay one step ahead." There has been some federal engagement in the fight against horse doping. For example, a federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania last year won the conviction of a horse trainer at Penn National race track on charges of conspiring with three veterinarians to fraudulently administer prescription drugs for her horses on race days. There is also a bill pending in Congress that would establish a national anti-doping and medication authority for horse racing in the U.S., operated under the oversight of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, known as USADA. The bill, introduced in the House last year, has not advanced out of committee. Gural said he supports the bill as a needed step toward standardizing rules that now vary among the 38 different racing jurisdictions in the U.S. Many leading harness racing figures oppose the bill, including Mike Tanner, CEO of the U.S. Trotting Association. "There are too many holes in it," said Tanner, who worries that the bill would impose significant new costs on owners to underwrite additional drug testing. PETA is critical of horse racing, but is pushing for reforms rather than actively campaigning for an all-out ban. The group hopes the lawsuit will curtail doping. "Horses continue to be drugged, bettors get cheated, and trainers get slaps on the wrist," said PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo. "Maybe if they're hit squarely in the wallet, they will pay attention and stop hurting horses." By David Crary Reprinted with permission of ABC News

A 69-year-old Brisbane man has been charged over allegations of harness racing match-fixing. Police say the man rigged the outcome of harness races at Albion Park in Brisbane and Globe Derby Park in Adelaide, and fraudulently purchased harness racing horses while disqualified from any involvement in racing. The Redcliffe man was charged on Wednesday with match-fixing, fraud and receiving tainted property, and will appear in the Redcliffe Magistrates Court on January 8. He is the fourth person to be charged with match-fixing offences as part of a joint investigation by the Queensland Racing Crime Squad and the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. Reprinted with permission of The West Australian

Queensland harness racing fixer Barton Cockburn has been warned off for life from all race tracks in the state. In a Brisbane court on Wednesday, 28-year-old Cockburn was fined $5000 after pleading guilty to three charges of match fixing at the Albion Park Paceway in November 2016. The driver-trainer was one of three people charged with match fixing offences in April this year by detectives from the Queensland Racing Crime Squad after an investigation of match fixing allegations in the harness racing industry. On Friday, Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett announced he had cancelled Cockburn's license and advised him he had been warned off for life from all race tracks in Queensland. "Mr Cockburn's warning off applies to all three codes of racing – thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds," Barnett said. "The prosecution of Mr Cockburn should sound a clear warning to anyone wanting to undermine the integrity of racing in Queensland that there will be serious consequences." QRIC warns about severe bans for fixing Participants in Queensland's three racing codes have been put on notice they face severe bans if they engage in match-fixing. Queensland Racing Integrity Commission boss Ross Barnett said harness driver Barton Cockburn, who pleaded guilty to match-fixing charges in the Magistrates Court last week, had been warned off for life. The ban means Cockburn can't attend any racetrack in the world. "Cockburn's warning off applies to all three codes of racing, thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds," Barnett said. "The prosecution of Cockburn should sound a clear warning to anyone wanting to undermine the integrity of racing in Queensland that there will be serious consequences." Cockburn was one of three people charged with match-fixing offences in April this year after the Racing Crime Squad investigated match fixing allegations in the harness racing industry. He was fined $5000 with no conviction recorded. Barnett said the addition of two more full-time investigators to the RCS would bolster the commission's commitment to integrity.

Two out of three of the defendants found guilty in June this year of ‘Obtaining by deception’ in a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution of a multi-million dollar gaming machine fraud have been sentenced in the Wellington High Court today. Michael O’Brien, guilty of five charges, received a sentence of imprisonment for four years, six months. Kevin Coffey, guilty of one charge, was sentenced to home detention for 12 months. Paul Max, guilty of three charges, will be sentenced in the Wellington High Court on 27 July. The case involved the manipulation of gambling licenses and grants and the offending was detected during Operation Chestnut, a joint investigation involving the Department of Internal Affairs, the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand and the SFO. It was a significant case in New Zealand for the ‘Class 4’ gambling sector, which is made up of high-turnover gambling including gaming machines in pubs and clubs. SFO Director, Julie Read said, “The sentences imposed today reflect the very serious nature of the misconduct in this case. The proceeds from pokie machines, intended to provide community funding for sport, health, education and other activities, were directed to entities nominated by Michael O’Brien so that he could obtain a personal benefit amounting to $6.86 million.” ENDS For further media information Andrea Linton Serious Fraud Office 027 705 4550 Note to editors CRIMES ACT OFFENCES Section 240 Obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception (1) Every one is guilty of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception who, by any deception and without claim of right,— (a) obtains ownership or possession of, or control over, any property, or any privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration, directly or indirectly; or (b) in incurring any debt or liability, obtains credit; or (c) induces or causes any other person to deliver over, execute, make, accept, endorse, destroy, or alter any document or thing capable of being used to derive a pecuniary advantage; or (d) causes loss to any other person.  (1A) Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years who, without reasonable excuse, sells, transfers, or otherwise makes available any document or thing capable of being used to derive a pecuniary advantage knowing that, by deception and without claim of right, the document or thing was, or was caused to be, delivered, executed, made, accepted, endorsed, or altered. (2) In this section, deception means— (a) a false representation, whether oral, documentary, or by conduct, where the person making the representation intends to deceive any other person and—   (i) knows that it is false in a material particular; or   (ii) is reckless as to whether it is false in a material particular; or (b) an omission to disclose a material particular, with intent to deceive any person, in circumstances where there is a duty to disclose it; or (c) a fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem used with intent to deceive any person.  ABOUT THE SFO The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act. The SFO is the lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious or complex financial crime, including bribery and corruption. The presence of an agency dedicated to white collar crime is integral to New Zealand’s reputation for transparency, integrity, fair-mindedness and low levels of corruption. This work contributes to a productive and prosperous New Zealand and the SFO’s collaborative efforts with international partners also reduce the serious harm that corrupt business practices do to the global economy. The SFO has three operational teams; the Evaluation and Intelligence team along with two investigative teams. The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers. Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”  Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”  In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to: the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or; the suspected scale of the fraud and/or; the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or; any relevant public interest considerations. The SFO’s Annual Report 2016 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2014-2018 sets out the SFO’s strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz The SFO Twitter feed is @FraudSeriousNZ

Verdicts were handed down in the trial of three people, including harness racing trainer Mike O'Brien,  charged with offences in relation to a multi-million dollar gaming machine fraud in the Wellington High Court today. The defendants; Michael Joseph O’Brien (58) of Blenheim, Paul Anthony Max (60) of Nelson, and Kevin Coffey (57) of Hastings, faced Crimes Act charges of ‘Obtaining by deception’. Michael O’Brien has been found guilty of five charges, Paul Max has been found guilty of three charges and the remaining defendant has been found guilty of one charge and not guilty of one other. The manipulation of gambling licenses and grants was detected during Operation Chestnut, a joint investigation involving the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ), and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The investigation was a significant case in New Zealand for the ‘Class 4’ gambling sector, which is made up of high-turnover gambling including gaming machines in pubs and clubs. SFO Director, Julie Read said, “Funding from pokie machines provides millions of dollars of community funding for sport, health, education and other activities every year. Operation Chestnut has been effective in enabling the DIA to pinpoint areas where compliance can be lifted in the sector so that pokie machine benefits can continue without the risk of manipulation or potential criminal activity.” The defendants were remanded in custody by Justice Dobson to next appear for sentencing on 13 July. Andrea Linton Serious Fraud Office 027 705 4550 BACKGROUND TO INVESTIGATION A Pokies 101 guide is available at this link: http://www.dia.govt.nz/Gambling it describes how the Class 4 gambling sector in New Zealand operates. CRIMES ACT OFFENCES Section 240 Obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception (1) Every one is guilty of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception who, by any deception and without claim of right,- (a) obtains ownership or possession of, or control over, any property, or any privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration, directly or indirectly; or (b) in incurring any debt or liability, obtains credit; or (c) induces or causes any other person to deliver over, execute, make, accept, endorse, destroy, or alter any document or thing capable of being used to derive a pecuniary advantage; or (d) causes loss to any other person. (1A) Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years who, without reasonable excuse, sells, transfers, or otherwise makes available any document or thing capable of being used to derive a pecuniary advantage knowing that, by deception and without claim of right, the document or thing was, or was caused to be, delivered, executed, made, accepted, endorsed, or altered. (2) In this section, deception means- (a) a false representation, whether oral, documentary, or by conduct, where the person making the representation intends to deceive any other person and- (i) knows that it is false in a material particular; or (ii) is reckless as to whether it is false in a material particular; or (b) an omission to disclose a material particular, with intent to deceive any person, in circumstances where there is a duty to disclose it; or (c) a fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem used with intent to deceive any person. ABOUT THE SFO The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act. The SFO is the lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious or complex financial crime, including bribery and corruption. The presence of an agency dedicated to white collar crime is integral to New Zealand’s reputation for transparency, integrity, fair-mindedness and low levels of corruption. This work contributes to a productive and prosperous New Zealand and the SFO’s collaborative efforts with international partners also reduce the serious harm that corrupt business practices do to the global economy. The SFO has three operational teams; the Evaluation and Intelligence team along with two investigative teams. The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers. Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”  Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”  In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to: the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or; the suspected scale of the fraud and/or; the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or; any relevant public interest considerations. The SFO’s Annual Report 2016 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2014-2018 sets out the SFO’s strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz The SFO Twitter feed is @FraudSeriousNZ

A Marlborough harness racing identity says the Crown has failed to prove basic elements of charges alleging he was behind a scheme to deceive gambling licensing authorities. In a nearly two-month trial, it was alleged Department of Internal Affairs, which issues licences for pokie gaming machines and the trusts that distribute the profits, was kept in the dark about one man's involvement in a trust intended to channel gambling profits towards racing clubs. Michael (Mike) Joseph O'Brien​, 57, of Blenheim, was in the department's bad books. At the High Court in Wellington on Thursday, O'Brien's lawyer, Bruce Squire, QC, said the department and its inspectors held a "deeply entrenched conviction" that O'Brien was an unsuitable person to be involved in that type of gambling. READ MORE: * Deception alleged in control over pokie machine gambling and profits * Trial ends for elderly pokie gaming fraud defendant Pat O'Brien ​* Defence evidence given in pokie machine profit fraud trial * Long-running pokie gambling fraud trial enters final stages But O'Brien had never been convicted of a Gambling Act offence, and had never been given an opportunity to respond to the claimed unsuitability. The Crown has alleged O'Brien and two other men hid his involvement with setting up and running a trust, Bluegrass, to operate pokie machines and distribute the profits, and with three businesses where machines were sited. But Squire said another defendant had told the department of O'Brien's involvement, and they issued licences for the trust anyway. The court has heard that O'Brien was earning more than $1 million a year lobbying on behalf of racing clubs wanting grants from gaming money. He would invoice the clubs for his services at the start of the season and the Crown alleges O'Brien would then influence or control the grants process so that the clubs received about three times the amount they paid him. One of the men standing trial with O'Brien said there was evidence that the department knew of, and approved, the lobbying arrangement. There were no charges relating to the lobbying or the money received.  In his final address to Justice Robert Dobson, the man, who is representing himself, said he told the department what he knew of O'Brien's involvement helping in administration and advice for O'Brien's father, who was setting up Bluegrass. He said that alongside that information, he told the department O'Brien was not "directly" involved in the trust, which was correct in the context the statement was made. All three defendants pleaded not guilty. O'Brien faces five charges, two relating to the trust and three relating to the gaming machine venues.  Paul Anthony Max, 60, of Nelson, was charged in relation to the three gaming venues, and the 56-year-old man whose name was suppressed faced the two charges relating to the trust. The charges dated from between 2009 and 2013. When the trial began, 15 charges were laid but 10 were dropped. The trial had also begun with O'Brien's father, former New Zealand Harness Racing chairman Patrick O'Brien, 83, of Blenheim, facing charges. The charges against him were stopped due to ill-health.  The Crown alleged that Mike O'Brien in effect directed the grants made to racing clubs, but Squire said the evidence did not support that. One list suggested less than one-quarter of the amounts on O'Brien's "wishlist" were approved.  O'Brien could not have controlled or influenced the grants process without the complicity of the committee that approved grants, and no committee member said their independence was compromised, Squire said. Squire said there was no evidence to support the Crown allegation that O'Brien had influenced grants other trusts made. Reprinted with permission of Stuff  

A Blenheim-based harness racing personality earned more than $1 million a year as a result of influencing or controlling grants from pokie gambling machine profits, the Crown alleges. Horse trainer Michael Joseph O'Brien, 57, is accused of setting up a trust to operate pokie machines in pubs and clubs and being the unseen hand behind it, including controlling where gambling machine profits would be distributed. The Crown says O'Brien's scheme was to invoice racing clubs for "lobbying" for grants on their behalf, and then arrange for the clubs to receive grants of about three times the amount he invoiced them. It was alleged that, from 2006, O'Brien received "substantially more" than $1m per racing season through the invoicing scheme, totalling $11.5m by 2013. He did not face charges relating to the invoicing scheme. READ MORE: * Deception alleged in control over pokie machine gambling and profits * Trial ends for elderly pokie gaming fraud defendant Pat O'Brien ​* Defence evidence given in pokie machine profit fraud trial One racing club representative told the court he would rather not have paid O'Brien's invoices, but O'Brien was "really successful" in lobbying for funds for the club. O'Brien and two others are on trial at the High Court in Wellington facing charges relating to the way O'Brien's involvement in a grant-making trust, and bars and cafes that contained pokie machines, was concealed. The three have pleaded not guilty to all charges. Final addresses for all three were expected this week. On Wednesday, prosecutor Grant Burston said that, through O'Brien's hidden interest in businesses where the pokie machines were placed, and the trust, he could sway the grants process. It depended, however, on being able to conceal his involvement from the Department of Internal Affairs, which regulated the industry, because O'Brien believed the department would not approve the licences if it knew he was involved. There was evidence he had become frustrated with the difficulty of getting gambling money grants for racing clubs, which led to a decrease in his own income. From earning $1.74 million from the racing club invoices in 2007, his earnings dropped to $1.32 in the 2009 racing year. In 2009 he decided to set up his own trust, Bluegrass, to operate the pokie machines in venues he acquired, and control the grants process, it was alleged. From there, racing club income to him or an associated party swung up, and reportedly reached a high of $1.92m in the 2012 racing year.  O'Brien has pleaded not guilty to five charges dating from between 2009 and 2013. At the start of the trial, the Crown laid 15 charges against defendants including O'Brien, but later a decision was made not to proceed on 10 of the charges, dating from 2007 to 2010. O'Brien and a 56-year-old man whose name was suppressed faced two charges of obtaining an operator's licence for Bluegrass, and control over the proceeds of gambling, by falsely representing that O'Brien was not involved. O'Brien and Paul Anthony Max, 60, face three charges relating to getting venue licences for three businesses in 2009 and 2010 by concealing O'Brien's involvement. Max allegedly held O'Brien's interests in his name to conceal O'Brien's involvement. O'Brien's ailing father, Patrick Francis O'Brien, 83, had been one of the defendants but, soon after the trial started on February 27, the judge removed him on health grounds. Patrick O'Brien was a former chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand. The defendants begin their closing addresses to Justice Robert Dobson, sitting without a jury, on Thursday. Reprinted with permission of stuff.co.nz

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