Pennsylvania Trainer Rojas Indicted On Wire Fraud, Conspiracy Charges

by | 08.12.2015 | 5:40pm

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, Pa., 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 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.

Indictment

  • JJ

    About Time

    • longtimehorsewoman

      Absolutely!!! it is a crime and this gets rid of the good old boys and the slap on the wrist. Making it a crime will make people think twice about cheating.

  • JoeJoe

    Penn National is a disgrace to racing. Shut the track down already. Murray, well done, you must feel so proud. Michael Gill, once a laughing stock at Penn, turns out was 100% right. Thinking there are more indictments to come..,

    • Larry Ensor

      Please, do you really think that Penn is the only poster child in racing? Because I can promise you it is not. What I don’t understand is why Penn is the only track that is under the microscope.

      • togahombre

        i agree but at the moment with all the cooperating co-conspirators it’s low hanging fruit

      • Decimus_D

        I don’t know man, this might be the worst of the bunch.

        • Alex

          Murray Rojas is a woman.

          • Decimus_D

            Sorry, I was referring to the entire Penn National situation. Its pretty bad all around and I have to think they’re some of the most egregious violators.

          • Larry Ensor

            I think “man” was being used as in “Hey man, what’s up?”

    • youcantmakeitup

      Gill says 40 to 45 target letters were sent out. This is not over yet. Feds have certain few they want and are slowly working up to them. Some of them might be the ones who were supposed to be minding the store.

      • Jocke Muth

        Perhaps they should look into Gill’s purchase of medication from South America during his period as an owner. :-)

        • Keyne

          Or Steph Beattie’s mystery trips to Hawaii with her ex boyfriend…

  • Richard C

    Start chirping!

  • Dave

    Why was the vet (or vets) not charged, particularly if fraudulent treatment forms were submitted to the PRC?

    • Jay Stone

      The vet or vets that were not identified obviously turned on trainer in return for not being indicted. The prosecutors will always look to get to the top of the food chain.

      • Larry Ensor

        Pretty sure she used the same vets that were indited and convicted several months ago.

    • JJ

      Or at least animal abuse. One would have to wonder if these vets wagered if so the vets are just as guilty as the trainer.

    • 4Bellwether666

      With all due respect…U should know how they go about NAILING them by now Dave???…

      • richard

        Where does the slippery slip end? Is pre-race icing your horse race fixing? Is feeding the best hay and grain race fixing? Is putting your horse in the right spot race fixing?

        • Naprovnik Naprovnik

          oh, please! The reality is so far to the wrong side of your questions, you come off as silly and naive. Face it: The FBI wouldn’t indict if they didn’t think they had enough evidence to prosecute. Good hay!? Good one!

  • J M FANGIO

    8/4, 7th DEL her AP CINO 6-1 4th choice of 6, wins for fun at 6-5! over two Larry Jones runners. curious.

  • Form Reversal

    I hear they are looking hard at Maryland and Parx trainers records as well. Not just vet records but credit card receipts and text messages. Which trainers at laurel were nobodies 2 years ago but suddenly have 45 head? They’re coming for you next.

    • U KNOW

      WAP Racing Stable

    • Sinking Ship

      Parx? Surely you jest!

    • Keyne

      Yet JUAN CARLOS GUERRERO,king of all American cheaters,is back winning races at Parx at a 40% clip.He don’t seem worried a bit..

  • Naprovnik Naprovnik

    Thank you, thank you, thank you … FBI! Finally. Not a three month suspension and $3000 fine in this case.

  • Concerned Observer

    And with positive publicity like this, we still argue about why handle is falling.

  • 4Bellwether666

    Has the FIXING of Horse race’s finally hit the FBI’s radar???…I’ll be damn

  • kim

    why doesn’t someone look into NM, this is exactly what they are doing

  • JoeJoe

    Jorge Navarro, Jamie Ness, and other wonder trainers should be a bot nervous.,

    • JoeJoe

      bit

  • Sinking Ship

    Obviously she’s mixed up in this in some way for an indictment to be handed down!

  • Ring of Light

    Penn National and Parx are cesspools and completely overrun with bad actors. Cut off the casino $$$ and see how long they last.

    • Mimi Hunter

      Might want to add the harness tracks so a clean sweep can be made in PA’s horse racing industry.

  • youcantmakeitup

    Where is the betting window where I can bet that she cops a plea and makes a deal?

  • Go get’em

    This goes on at every track. The difference is Penn National is cleaning up their track and going after and prosecuting the cheaters. I would rather race where the getting rid of them unless of course those of you pointing fingers are cheaters elsewhere.

    • morethanready

      If only that were true. Penn allowed these guys to thrive to the point were the Feds had to step in with Wells and now Rojas.

      • youcantmakeitup

        Also 4 vets, the clocker and still haven`t heard how Patricia Rogers case was resolved. Rumor has it that she is licensed again. If feds are serious, then half the barn area would be empty. I don`t believe just Wells and Rojas were the only ones treating horses on race day.

      • jj

        What do the stewards do ? Why do the feds have to get involved ? Most of the stewards that I talked to are ex trainers and jockeys most of them have control of tests for drugs. The question is who watches the stewards ? and why aren’t the police or DEA called when horses show up with these controlled drugs. What gets me is why the tracks host these drug abusers.

  • morethanready

    It doesn’t take two years to bring an indictment w/o teeth. This hard working trainer has 71 violations listed- many for some pretty strong meds.

    • gregrobertson

      Where do you find how many positive tests a trainer has?

  • deadmoney

    Praising Gill? Talk about misguided. Gill’s trainers at PEN were some of the worst for using substances like snake venom and who knows what else, and their horses broke down with alarming regularity.

    • youcantmakeitup

      Trying to find the comments here that praise Gill. Please point it out so I know where to look.

  • Racing Fan

    A lot of people here are crushing Penn National. Truth is it’s been the most honest racing in the region since this investigation started. You people complain when there is filthy behavior then you complain when there is federal intervention. You think NYRA or Monmouth or Delaware are on the “up an up”? If you think so then you are a very ignorant person. People should be sending their horses to Penn now as a result of the racing getting cleaned up. I can’t think of a place that is more clean than Pennsylvania at the moment.

    • Really?

      Ha ha ha ha ha!!! I do agree that they should be praised for cleaning things up rather than bashed. However, the reason it is starting there is because Penn is the dirtiest racetrack. With a few exceptions, the people there are really dirty. Everyone is with each other’s husbands, horses end up starved and dead and trainers keep giving them to the wrong people, etc. etc. etc. Give me a break.

      • Racing Fan

        No cited examples. Shocking. Where did Ernie Paragallo race his horses?

        • morethanready

          None of the of the northeast tracks is above criticism but Penn and PA are the only jurisdictions who would continue to allow someone facing a federal indictment for fixing 11 races or harboring a guy like Vazquez who has been ruled off by Md. and Del. And when they did try to suspend a few jockeys for having a buzzer a few months ago they couldn’t prove who it belonged to. You want more examples?
          What Ernie did was reprehensible but it happened on a farm in upstate New York. It has nothing to do with deceiving the public and cheating to earn a purse.

          • Racing Fan

            The poster said people at penn national starve horses which is false. I don’t recall one incident of starvation there.

            And what you don’t realize is PA is the ONLY one doing anything about it by reaching out for help is Penn National.

            Maryland and Delaware didn’t “harbor” Julio Cartgagena? Who gaves stalls to Kirk Ziadie when ruled off in Florida? Georgeanne Hale in Maryland did.

          • morethanready

            I’m certainly not a fan of how Del. has handled things. They let Vazquez back but didn’t give him stalls and they were ‘rewarded’ with a positive on their first racing day. MD is making an effort since they appointed Sinatra.
            Some horses recently found dead or dying on a farm recently were traced back to several Penn trainers- I think that is what he was referring to. That’s just piling on.
            Your approach is interesting- attack other jurisdictions instead of defending PA(that would be a losing battle).

          • Racing Fan

            I’m defending PA because they have the stones to reach out for help via the FBI.

            Also, Maryland let Bowie be the wild west with needles everywhere. Sal if a solid trooper but please spare me that Maryland is completely on the up and up.

            Google away and you’ll find instances of starved TB’s (and horses) just about everywhere which is unfortunate. The TB’s that breeder Paul Truitt starved were broodmares. Last time I checked most horses who raced can be traced back to whoever trained them. Are you suggesting that broodmares who have been off the track for several years and being starved are the fault of the trainer who trained them during their racing career?

            P.S. Vazquez ruled off at Penn.

          • morethanready

            Stones? They had no idea. If they had told the PA commission what they were looking into these guys would’ve been warned- Rojas is still on the horseman’s board.

          • Keyne

            PA didn’t “reach out” for any help,the FBI came down on them.Michael Gill,though not perfect,will come out of this loking like Jose Canseco of baseball.
            I have horses in the mid-atlantic.Ive been handicapping races for 35 years.Never do I see more horses(at low odds as well) being held then I do at Penn National.
            You don’t believe me?What to look for:take a horse that’s is 5-1 or under who normally has early speed.At,Penn these horses routinely break near the back of the pack.Then,as they are making a move around the turn,the jocks who are “holding”always steer these horses INSIDE into the herd.They will then get massive dirt kickback and languish in the back of the pack.If they aretrying to win the race,they will ALWAYS angle OUTSIDE into the clear.
            Gill wasn’t right about everything,but he was spot on about this..

          • Racing Fan

            Yeah, you are the expert. I’ve never seen such ridiculous rhetoric in a paulick report posts in my life.

          • 100% correct….. these kids at penn are thieves going unchecked, or unpunished…. vets, trainers and riders… the riders cant get mounts on any real track so they can make more money holding horses…. figure out the jocks take on a winning ride and it is almost as lucrative to hold one…. normal purse at the pig pen the riders share is 500 to 700… they get 500 to hold one and give him the once around…..

          • Mark E Gory

            Sal left Parx a dirty mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • David

            PENN NEVER REACHED OUT, IN FACT, THEY DID ALL THEY COULD TO MAKE IT HARD ON FBI! Lowe reamed out Cassel, for giving FBI an office in Racing Commission area..Come on quit drinking the kool-aide.l

          • David

            If you want real examples, we have plenty, for example Jocks agents knowing fields before race is even drawn!! They are told who is in race by officials in racing office! STILL occuring………

  • Rail rider

    Did you read what the violations where? They could have been for not having silks to not naming a jock on in time. Before you go putting stuff like that out there read the whole thing. Med violations those are the ones to point out.

    • morethanready

      I did read the whole thing and I said there were some serious violations (for positives that actually led to suspensions). That is accurate.
      .

    • Concerned Observer

      RIGHT, so you think based upon not having the silks in the jocks room at the appointed hour and not having named the jock on time…the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania decided and announced today that a grand jury in Harrisburg has indicted a local
      thoroughbred horse trainer”

      Really? Are you serious? Some people can come up with an excuse for anything and everything.

  • penn and parx are cesspools for race fixing and doping…if you think otherwise you are either ignorant or looking at this thru rose colored glasses…take the top 5 trainers at both tracks and they are chemical engineers….long live m gill… he was outspoken, put his money up, and is now being vindicated….

    • Racing Fan

      And the top 5 at Delaware, Monmouth and Pimlico are the second coming of Allen Jerkens? Rudy Rodriguez just a great horseman? David Jacobson?

      • morethanready

        What is your point? No one will dispute that each track has their questionable trainers. It just so happens that PENN’s exploitation of the public was so bad they couldn’t ignore it and now the indicted vets are singing.

        • Racing Fan

          My point is that EVERY TRACK HAS CHEATERS. IT’S A RACING PROBLEM. God you dense. Ever check the horseman in Louisiana? Calder (Gulfstream West)?

    • Racing Fan

      Steve Krebs is the 3rd leading trainer at Delaware being a program trainer and probably can’t tell you which horses are colts vs. fillies, but yeah only the top 5 at Penn are engineers. You people are a joke. It’s a racing problem not a Penn national problem.

      • bristling

        What do you base them comments on ?

        • Racing Fan

          Based on him being 7 for 151 the last three years he was on his own including a solid 0-59 year.

          • Bristling

            Everyone goes thru bad times just chalk that up to bad horses. Look at the lifetime stats. And how many winners have you trained ?

          • morethanready

            He was Lake’s beard; quit while your behind. He’ll go back to 5% now.

          • Bristling

            Here’s another guy that wouldn’t know where to hang the feed tub at.

          • Racing Fan

            Nobody goes 0 for 59 even with bad horses.

      • Bristling

        Actually I think he knew their gender but not their color or was it he knew their color but not their gender I don’t know I am confused now. But regardless if he is 3rd leading trainer at Del Park with all that he just might be the best trainer in America.

      • Bristling

        Wait wait maybe it was he doesn’t know the difference between a thoroughbred and a Shetland pony. The plot thickens. Oh by the way how many winners have you trained lately ??

  • youcantmakeitup

    A day after Rojas gets indicted, she wins 4th race at Penn last night. Am I missing something? Its anarchy at that track. Do what you want, when you want and suffer no consequences.

  • nathan rotstein

    YOU ARE RETARDED,

  • youcantmakeitup

    I really think that racing doesn`t care about the betting public because they don`t need them. Handle isn’t that important anymore because of the slot subsidies. For instance , Delaware paid out about 14 million in purses last year with 12 million coming from the slots. So if the public never had bet a penny , they still would have had around 85% of their purse money to fund the races. Cut a few days and the purses remain the same. Horsemen love short fields because even the bad trainers and horses can get a piece of the pie. I call it welfare for horseracing. And I will never buy in that it produces the amount of jobs, they claim it does. Who did the counting? Of course, the horsemen. Just go on racing commission site and see how many licenses were issued .A few hundred at most. And owners don’t count.In fact , most owners don`t even live in states where they race so money isn’t spent in the state. Its all smoke and mirrors.

  • why delete objective posts… is it you do not agree.??? communism or Mcarthyism?? or is it the same as the child in the schoolyard who brings basketball to play, does not get chosen and takes ball and leaves???

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