Penn National Racetrack Employee Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charge
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Danny Robertson, 63, Hershey, Pennsylvania pled guilty in United States District Court in Harrisburg to wire fraud relating to providing false information to racing officials and the public.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Robertson was an employee at the Penn National racetrack and worked as a clocker. His duties included being present at the racetrack when horses had their official workout. Robertson was responsible for verifying that the horse was the actual horse the trainer represented it to be, accurately recording the distance and the time the horse ran in and providing the information to racing officials for the official daily racing program. Robertson also provided the workout time information by interstate wire via computer to Equibase, a Kentucky-based company that distributes information on a racehorse’s performance and workout times to organizations, media outlets and publications such as the Daily Racing Form, as well as on its own website.
Robertson was charged in an indictment presented on November 20, 2013. The count of the Indictment to which Robertson pled guilty alleged that the workout time information is relied upon by the betting public in deciding which horse to wager on in any given race. Robertson admitted that, in exchange for cash, he provided false workout times to racing officials and to Equibase. The times provided by Robertson as part of the fraud were inaccurate, or were completely fabricated for a horse that did not work out at all at the track. Robertson profited personally from the scheme, the betting public was defrauded and Robertson’s employer, Hollywood Casino and Racetrack, was denied its right to Robertson’s honest services.
Robertson pled guilty today before Senior U.S. District Court Judge William W. Caldwell pursuant to a plea agreement with the government. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Harrisburg Resident Agency, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission. Prosecution was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe.
Robertson faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
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.