Vet Grasso, Standardbred trainer Banca latest in FED horse doping probe to plead guilty – horse racing news


Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that defendants Luis Grasso and Richard Banca pleaded guilty to their respective roles in distributing fraudulent and mis-branded drugs with intent to defraud and mislead, in connection with the charges against him. United States v. Grasso et al., 20 Cr. 163 (OKC). Grasso and Banca both pleaded guilty before District Judge B. Kevin Castle. Judge Castel will rule on both Grasso and Banca on September 6, 2022.

US Attorney Damien Williams said: “Grasso and Banca represent the corruption and greed of those in the racehorse industry looking to win at any cost. By selling illicit drugs and selling prescriptions to corrupt trainers, Luis Grasso abdicated his responsibilities as a medical professional to ensure the safety and health of the racehorses that “Cure it.” By injecting horses with unnecessary, and at times, unknown drugs, Grasso risked the lives and welfare of the animals in his care, all in the service of helping corrupt racehorse trainers like Banca fill their pockets through fraud. These latest convictions show The commitment of this office and our partners in the FBI to hold accountable individuals who seek to profit from animal abuse and deception.”

According to the allegations in the Informed Indictment, the update charges Grasso, Banca, ex-shippers, and other filings in this case.[1]and statements during court proceedings:

The charges in the Grasso case arose from an investigation of schemes spread by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, PED distributors and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and spoiled brand PEDs and secretly administer these PEDs to racehorses that compete at all levels of professional horse racing. By evading PED bans and deceiving regulators and horse racing officials, participants in these schemes sought to improve racing performance and obtain prize money from racetracks across the United States, all at the cost and risk of the health and well-being of racehorses. Grasseau, a veterinarian, not only accepted payment for prescriptions for potent and medically unnecessary performance-enhancing drugs, but also created, distributed and administrated customized performance-enhancing drugs that were mislabeled and adulterated materials designed solely to improve a racing horse’s performance. Through this fraudulent scheme, Grasso helped corrupt coaches raise more than $47 million in illicit gains. As a trainer for standard racehorses, Banca purchased and administered adulterated and spoiled brands of racehorses, and as a result of his crimes, his horses earned more than $16 million in fund profits. Banka benefited from the success of the racehorses under his control by earning a share of his horses’ earnings, and by improving his racing records, thus achieving higher training fees and increasing the number of racehorses under his control.

U.S. Attorney General Williams commended the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Eurasian Task Force on Organized Crime in New York, and its support for the FBI’s Sports and Games Integrity Initiative. Mr. Williams also thanked the Food and Drug Administration for its assistance.

The Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit is handling the case. US Assistant Prosecutors Sarah Mortazavi and Andin Chao are responsible for the prosecution.

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