- Jorge Navarro pleaded guilty to involvement in a systematic horse doping scheme.
- Navarro will pay $25.9 million and could serve up to five years in prison.
- His biggest winner, X Y Jet, was regularly drugged and died of a heart attack.
NEW YORK - Jorge Navarro, a famous horse trainer, pleaded guilty to involvement in a doping scheme.
Navarro agreed to pay $25.9 million in restitution, as the doping is regarded as cheating, so the punishment he received is in line with his winnings due to doping - to say nothing of the fraud perpetrated on online gamblers who wagered against his doped up horses.
25.9 million is not equal to his total career winnings, which are 34.9 million, but that is the number that federal prosecutors arrived at.
“I was the organizer for a criminal activity that involved five or more participants. I coordinated the administration of non-FDA approved drugs that were misbranded or adulterated to horses under my care,” said Navarro’s statement at court. “I abused a position of trust as I was a licensed horse trainer and the horses were in my custody at the time.”
Reckless Fraudster Perpetrating Systematic Abuse
The accusations of abuse loomed large in the case, as Navarro’s biggest winner was X Y Jet, a horse that won him $3 million, and died of a heart attack.
It’s unclear to what degree the heart attack was related to Navarro’s doping scheme - although prosecutors alleged that he routinely drugged the horse - but it’s certainly worth noting.
“As he admitted today, Navarro, a licensed trainer and the purported ‘winner’ of major races across the world, was in fact a reckless fraudster whose veneer of success relied on the systematic abuse of the animals under his control,” said US Attorney Audrey Strauss in a statement after Navarro’s guilty plea.
How Far Do The Allegations Go?
Navarro could also face up to five years in prison, and this case is likely to go far beyond him, as many other people have been charged in connection with the investigation that brought down Navarro.
Court documents show that 31 people have been charged in connection with Navarro’s actions, with Navarro only being a piece of what has been described as a systematic horse doping scheme.
Of those 31 people charged, seven have pleaded guilty already, and the scope of the charges includes horse races in Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and the United Arab Emirates.
Perhaps the most famous trainer involved in this case is Jason Servis, trainer of disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security.
Servis is currently attempting to suppress wiretap evidence, including evidence from Navarro’s phone.
He is represented in this by Rita Glavin, who most recently made waves for a statement defending New York Governor Andrew Cuomo by challenging the credibility of the report which formally accused him of sexual harassment.