Penn National Racing Official Charged with Fraud in Race Rigging Scheme
HARRISBURG—The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a racing official at Penn National Race Track in Grantville has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud for accepting money and other gratuities in exchange for providing inside information to trainers on which races to enter their horses in order to have a better chance at winning.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Craig Lytel, age 60, of Hershey, Pennsylvania was an employee of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Track (Penn National) who served as a racing official at the track. He is charged with wire fraud alleging that he was the recipient of an interstate wire transfer of $1,000 from a bank in Kentucky to Lytel’s bank in Pennsylvania allegedly in exchange for providing inside information on the makeup of horse races at Penn National so that the trainers would know the composition of the race and enter their horses in races in which they have a better opportunity to win. It is alleged that Lytel deprived his employer of his honest service by accepting cash, dinners, gift cards and golf outings in exchange for the information.
Lytel is licensed as a racing official at Penn National and falls under the rules and regulations that govern licensees with the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. Lytel was privy to information concerning the horses entered in a race while the race entries are being filled by the racing office. This information gives a horse owner/trainer an advantage as to which race to enter their eligible horse in that it would give the horse a better chance of success. Such information, coupled with the knowledge of what other horses are in a given race, could also provide an opportunity for collusion on the behalf of owner/trainers or even determine if a race will be filled enough to run.
The government filed a plea agreement with the defendant which is subject to the approval of the court.
The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission as part of an ongoing investigation of racing at Penn National.
Prosecution of the case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe.
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, 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.