Scam money gets paid

Mar 25, 2003 5:35 AM

Racing executive Cliff Goodrich hasn’t yet presided over a race meeting in his new post at Arlington Park but he now gets to undertake one of the most satisfying chores he’ll encounter: distributing the scammed loot of the Breeders’ Cup Ultra Pick Six to the rightful owners.

Goodrich, longtime chief honcho at Santa Anita prior to the track’s purchase by Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA), joined the Churchill Downs Inc (CHDN) family as head of Arlington Park where last year’s Breeders’ Cup races were conducted. It was on the Pick Six races on B.C. Day that a totalizator company employee manipulated the software system to make a scam confederate the holder of the only winning ticket in the pool, a ticket that would have been worth more than $3 million had it been legitimately purchased.

Finally after the trio responsible for the scam were prosecuted and sentenced, federal officials authorized the release of the Pick Six money that had been held in escrow by Arlington on order of the courts.

"With the official release of the funds," said Goodrich, "Arlington Park is now in the process of contacting customers known to have valid five-of-six winning tickets to ensure the accurate and prompt distribution of the remaining Breeders’ Cup Ultra Pick Six pool monies. The Arlington Park staff will work with both customers individually and each racetrack, OTB or account wagering operator who sold winning tickets to answer questions they may have and arrange the most expeditious method of payment. We are eager to see these winnings distributed to the rightful owners and appreciate the patience and understanding demonstrated by our customers throughout this process."

Immediately following the running of the races, the track and officials of the Breeders’ Cup, announced that only one $12 ticket had all six horses in the Pick Six. The payoff was listed as $428,392 for each $2 ticket. They also indicated that 78 tickets had five of the six winning horses and that these tickets had a payoff value of $4,606.20.

However, an investigation determined that Chris Harn, an employee of Autotote, the company that provided ticket-issuing equipment for the Catskill Off Track Betting office, had changed the numbers of a ticket purchased by a college buddy to list all the correct winning horses. During the investigation, Harn admitted his role and implicated his Drexel University fraternity brothers Derrick Davis, on whose OTB account the ticket was issued, and Glen DaSilva, who had participated in other similar scams.

Last week, Harn was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. Davis received the harshest sentence — 37 months in prison and $15,000 restitution — while DaSilva’s sentence was for two years.

Since the incident, Autotote and its competitors, Amtote and United Tote (owned by International Game Technology Inc. (IGT)) reportedly have instituted procedures to enhance the integrity of the pari-mutuel tickets issued.