Penn National Horse Trainer Indicted on Wire Fraud Charges
HARRISBURG—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a grand jury in Harrisburg has indicted a local thoroughbred horse trainer on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Murray L. Rojas, age 49, of Grantville, Pennsylvania 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 National Race Course in early 2013.
The indictment alleges that Rojas directed and conspired with unnamed and unindicted coconspirator veterinarian(s) to administer 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 administration 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 interstate electronic transfer of funds and the transmission of these funds that are used to pay successful owners/trainers is essential to the alleged scheme to defraud.
The indictment also alleges that Rojas obtained winnings totaling $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 by the Harrisburg Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Horse Racing Commission. Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe.
Indictments are only allegations. 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 after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law is 20 years of imprisonment on each count, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, 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 seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.