Harness Trainer Who Sought to Use Dead Vet's Credentials to Order Drugs Imprisoned 4 Months

Donato Poliseno of Delaware, who trained Standardbreds for over 50 years before opening a pharmaceutical company in 2012 that federal prosecutors said sold a "bevy of drugs" to other harness racing participants without legally mandated prescriptions, was sentenced on Wednesday to four months in prison. A federal judge ordered that Poliseno, 72, must also pay a $2.26-million forfeiture as the result of a plea bargain that set aside felony charges related to conspiracy, drug alteration, and misbranding in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of a substantive violation of...

[ Read More ]
Chan Pleads Guilty to Single Felony Count in Plea Deal

The New York-based veterinarian Alexander Chan, facing three felony charges related to drug adulteration, misbranding, and wire fraud conspiracies for allegedly injecting purported performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) into racehorses trained by co-defendant Jason Servis and then hiding the billing for his services, cut a plea bargain with the government Monday. Chan's deal involved waiving indictment and pleading guilty to a single superseding information charge of drug adulteration and misbranding in exchange for the other charges against him being dropped, a format that is similar in substance to deals that other convicted...

[ Read More ]
Servis Negotiating with Feds for Plea Bargain

The barred trainer Jason Servis, the final--and most notoriously prominent--defendant awaiting a trial or sentencing in the 2020 racehorse doping conspiracy scandal, is negotiating with federal prosecutors for a plea bargain agreement to adjudicate the three felony drug misbranding and fraud conspiracy charges he is facing for allegedly drugging almost all the Thoroughbreds under his care in 2019. The disclosure was revealed late Friday afternoon in an otherwise routine court filing asking for an extension of time to file motions in Servis's upcoming trial, which has a Jan. 9 start...

[ Read More ]
Harness Trainer Guido Gets 20 Months in Prison for Doping

Thomas Guido, III, a 57-year-old former Standardbred trainer based in the Northeast, became the third defendant in related criminal racehorse doping cases this week to be sentenced to prison. On Thursday, a federal judge put Guido behind bars for 20 months as part of an agreement with prosecutors in which Guido pleaded guilty to one felony count of substantive drug misbranding and adulteration with intent to defraud and mislead in exchange for three conspiracy charges against him being dropped. Guido was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Prior to...

[ Read More ]
Veterinarian Grasso Sentenced to 50 Months

Louis Grasso, a veterinarian who worked in the harness racing industry and was one of more than two dozen individuals indicted in 2020 for their role in a horse doping ring, has been sentenced to 50 months in prison and two years of supervised release. The sentence was handed down Tuesday by U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel in a lower Manhattan courtroom. Grasso was also ordered to pay a forfeiture totaling $412,442.62 and restitution in the amount of $47,656,576. He must surrender to authorities on January 24, 2023, at...

[ Read More ]
Giannelli Gets Three and a Half Years in Prison

Lisa Giannelli was sentenced Sept. 8 to 3 1/2 years in prison as part of the federal government's sweeping investigation into horse doping at race tracks across the country. Giannelli, 56, was found guilty of peddling illegal performance-enhancing drugs to trainers to dope horses and faced a maximum of five years in prison. Her lawyers appealed for a no-jail sentence of probation. "This was not a one-time thing," Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil said in U.S. District Court in New York. "For 18 years, Ms. Giannelli marketed and sold what she...

[ Read More ]
Florida Vet Garcia Wants Plea Change to Avoid Doping Trial

Erica Garcia, a Florida-based veterinarian, broke off her longstanding business relationship with the now-imprisoned trainer Jorge Navarro in early 2019. But she remained in contact with other conspirators of the Thoroughbred doping scheme that Navarro-and numerous other racetrackers-would later admit to. So when federal investigators began compiling evidence that led to a nationwide series of arrests in a widespread racehorse drugging crackdown in March 2020, Garcia was considered fair game for her alleged role in the pipeline of purportedly performance-enhancing drugs. Charged with two felony counts involving conspiracies to commit...

[ Read More ]
Fishman Has Been Sentenced. Is That the End of This Story?

Having been convicted of two counts of drug adulteration and misbranding, with intent to defraud and mislead, Dr. Seth Fishman was sentenced Monday to 11 years in prison, by far the longest sentence handed down to anyone among the many people tied up in a far-reaching doping scandal that has shaken the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries. He will soon call a federal penitentiary home, and for a long time. Good. He got what he deserved. But is this the end of his story or a precursor to what's to come?...

[ Read More ]
Feds: Fishman 'Amplified the Disastrous Effects of Doping'

Six days before veterinarian Seth Fishman is to be sentenced for his two felony drug-supplying convictions in a decades-long international racehorse doping conspiracy, United States prosecutors told a judge he deserves a prison term greater than the 10 years recommended by federal probation officials, but below the maximum sentencing guideline of 20 years. The feds also recommended that the judge not use convicted trainer Jorge Navarro's five-year sentence-the most severe among prison terms meted out so far in this conspiracy-as a measuring stick, because Fishman's criminal actions had a multiplying...

[ Read More ]
Letter to the Editor: Eric Ward

I have been following with interest the interviews with Liza Lazarus in the TDN. Excellent stuff, particularly today's piece concerning doping procedures. I sincerely hope the aptly-named Ms. Lazarus can bring racing back from the dead and I applaud the new transparency of publication of test results along with the accelerated hearing and adjudication timelines. A great step forward. However, I can't see the advantage of reducing possible sanctions for controlled therapeutic medication offences to make a distinction between such offences and those concerning banned substances. This is a bit...

[ Read More ]
Fishman Asks for Yet Another Sentencing Delay

The veterinarian Seth Fishman--who is facing 20 years in prison, has an active motion asking for the first of his two convicted counts to be dismissed, and has already been granted one sentencing delay because he is allegedly having trouble filling out federal probation paperwork--again on Tuesday requested another delay of his sentencing. The half-redacted letter motion filed by his attorney in United States District Court (Southern District of New York) on May 17 suggests that a COVID-19 outbreak where he is being detained at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn...

[ Read More ]
Giannelli Trial Continues

Lisa Giannelli testified at her horse doping trial May 4 that she had a good reason for wanting to testify in her own defense. "To tell my story," she told the jury in U.S. District Court in New York. She is on trial on a conspiracy charge, accused of assisting veterinarian Seth Fishman in the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs that prosecutors say were used by corrupt trainers to dope racehorses in violation of racing regulations. During three hours of questioning by her attorney Louis Fasulo, Giannelli, who admitted being nervous...

[ Read More ]

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.