Saturday, November 23, 2002
Autotote reveals attempted betting scam in 1999
By Matt Hegarty
Daily Racing Form
NEW YORK -- Autotote, the bet processing company that employed Chris Harn, the confessed ringleader of the Breeders' Cup pick six scam, fired an employee in 1999 for attempting a counterfeit ticket scheme similar to one employed by Harn, racing officials said Friday.
According to the officials, the fired employee, whose identity could not be confirmed, obtained serial numbers for uncashed tickets and attempted to use the serial numbers to cash the tickets. In the guilty plea he entered Wednesday in federal court, Harn said he also obtained serial numbers for uncashed tickets and then printed counterfeits.
The computerized wagering system operated by Autotote has come under scrutiny ever since the Breeders' Cup pick six investigation was launched late last month. In Harn's plea agreement, he said he had altered pick four and pick six bets, including the only winning tickets on the Breeders' Cup pick six, a scheme that would have netted nearly $3.1 million.
According to his plea, Harn's betting scams went undetected by Autotote for nearly a year, before he was finally tripped up by the suspicious Breeders' Cup pick six ticket, which used only one horse in each of the first four races and all horses in the final two races.
In the 1999 incident, the culprit was an Autotote employee who worked in the tote room at Delaware Park, according to Bill Fasy, the chief operating officer of the track. Fasy said track personnel discovered the worker in a supervisor's office attempting to redeem the counterfeit tickets and turned him over to Autotote.
"We had mechanisms in place to pick it up," Fasy said. "He confessed to what he did, and restitution was made."
Autotote officials declined to comment except to confirm that the worker had been fired. The firing was reported Friday by the Washington Post.
Harn, 29, was a senior programmer for Autotote and worked out of the company's Newark, Del., headquarters. He was hired in 1997, just after he left Drexel University in Philadelphia, and was fired on Oct. 31 after the company conducted an internal investigation prompted by the pick six investigation.
According to his guilty plea, Harn began the counterfeit ticket scheme in November 2001. For nearly a year, he was able to pass the counterfeits to two former fraternity brothers, Derrick Davis, 29, and Glen DaSilva, 29, who were implicated in Harn's plea agreement but have not entered pleas themselves. The counterfeit tickets cashed in the scheme were worth a total of almost $100,000, investigators said. They did not learn of the scheme until Harn disclosed it in his plea agreement, officials said.
Fasy said that the employee in the 1999 ticket-cashing incident had no connection to Harn or the other two suspects in the current case. The amount of money that the Autotote employee attempted to steal was "negligible," Fasy said.
Fasy said he did not know if Autotote pursued criminal charges against the employee.