Former Penn National Official Seeks To Avoid Prison In Fraud Case

by | 02.03.2016 | 12:03pm
Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville, Pa.

Craig Lytel, the former official at Penn National Race Track who pled guilty last year to wire fraud in connection with race-rigging, has asked a federal judge for probation instead of a prison sentence.

In a court filing, Lytel's attorney Frank Sluzis argues the 61-year-old suffers from several medical conditions that would worsen in prison.

“Mr. Lytel does not wish to downplay the seriousness of the matter,” Sluzis wrote. “As attested to by his various health care providers, a sentence of incarceration would not only exacerbate his current conditions, but would also prevent the necessary management of his conditions.”

Lytel's attorney further contends the damages in this case are not above $6,500 as the government claims, meaning Lytel should be eligible for probation under sentencing guidelines.

Lytel was charged with wire fraud for receiving a $1,000 bank transfer allegedly in exchange for tipping off trainers about races that would be most advantageous to enter. Lytel also admitted to accepting cash, gift cards and a “few rounds of golf” from at least one trainer and jockey agent.


Lytel worked at racetracks for most of his career and was employed by Penn National from May 31, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2015. According to his attorney, the Hershey, Pa., resident has since been licensed as a personal trainer and is working at a Gold's Gym.

“Mr. Lytel has lived a life free from contact with the criminal justice system,” wrote Sluzis. “Mr. Lytel has accepted fully responsibility for his actions and is remorseful for same. Because of his criminal conduct Mr. Lytel will never again find employment in the industry in which he has committed the better part of his adult life.”

Lytel is expected to be sentenced sometime this month. His case is part of a long-running FBI investigation that has led to federal grand jury indictments and the arrests of trainers, veterinarians and a clocker, dating back to 2013.

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