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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Former Penn National Horse Trainer Sentenced To 27 Months In Prison For Misbranding Prescription Drugs On Race Day

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that former Penn National horse trainer Murray Rojas, age 53, of Grantville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on May 6, 2019, to 27 months’ imprisonment on each of her 14 felony convictions for misbranding prescription drugs on race day and conspiracy. The sentences were ordered to run concurrent to each other. Rojas was also sentenced to serve 2 years of supervised release and to pay a $5,000 fine.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Rojas was convicted by a federal jury on June 30, 2017, of 14 felony counts of misbranding prescription drugs on race day and conspiracy. The crimes involved Rojas directing veterinarians to administer drugs to her horses on race day in violation of track rules and state law. The conspiracy took place between 2002 and 2014, and involved 58 races.  Rojas conspired with three veterinarians to have the drugs dispensed and administered to horses on the day they were entered to race.

As part of the conspiracy the veterinarians attempted to conceal this conduct by backdating invoices for the sale and administration of drugs to the horses on race day, as well as the submission of fraudulent veterinarian treatment reports to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission.

The United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted several other individuals as part of this investigation in federal and state court, including:

  • Danny Robertson, the official clocker, charged with wire fraud, sentenced to one year probation and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine;
  • Craig Lytel, a racing official, charged with wire fraud, sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine;
  • David Wells, owner and trainer, charged with rigging a publicly exhibited contest, sentenced on February 23, 2015, to three months’ imprisonment;
  • Patricia Rogers, trainer, charged with rigging a publicly exhibited contest, received an ARD in Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas;
  • Samuel Webb, trainer, charged with rigging a publicly exhibited contest, received an ARD in Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas;
  • Renée Nodine, veterinarian, charged with misbranding and conspiracy, awaiting sentencing;
  • Kevin Brophy, veterinarian, charged with misbranding and conspiracy, awaiting sentencing;
  • Fernando Motta, veterinarian, charged with misbranding and conspiracy, awaiting sentencing; and
  • Christopher Korte, veterinarian charged with misbranding and conspiracy, awaiting sentencing.

Judge Rambo ordered Rojas to report to a federal prison to be designated by the Bureau of Prisons on June 3, 2019. A decision whether Rojas will be allowed to remain on bail pending an appeal is under advisement by the court.

The case was investigated by the by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Horse Racing Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney William A. Behe prosecuted the case.

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Updated May 7, 2019