Many Pennsylvania readers are aware that federal investigators have been looking into the operations at the Penn National racetrack for several years. Recently, a former employee of the track was sentenced on fraud charges, after he was accused of accepting items of value in exchange for information about the horses who were slated to race at the facility. The sentencing took place nearly five months after the man entered a guilty plea in relation to the charges last fall.
Investigators assert that the 61-year-old man shared information about the identity of various horses that were scheduled to race at Penn National. That information, according to authorities, was used to give individuals an unfair advantage on wagering. The man is said to have received dinners, golf outings, cash and gift cards in return for the information.
The former Penn National employee will serve four months in federal prison. The report does not specifically state that the sentence was the result of a plea deal. However, the relatively short period of incarceration is in line with the practice of accepting a plea agreement in exchange for reduced punitive measures.
Individuals facing federal fraud charges pursue plea agreements for a number of reasons. Some want to avoid the time, expense and stress related to a trial. Others would rather accept a lesser known punishment than risk a significantly longer time behind bars if a conviction is obtained. While each set of circumstances is unique, the process of structuring a plea agreement is one that is handled very carefully by Pennsylvania defense attorneys and their clients.
Source: drf.com, "Former Penn National employee gets four months in prison", Matt Hegarty, Feb. 19, 2016