07/24/2003 12:00AM

Clerk penalized for wagering

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A mutuel clerk for the New York Racing Association was fined by the State Racing and Wagering Board and was also suspended five days without pay or benefits by NYRA for betting, a violation of state law.

Murray Lazarus, a mutuel clerk at Belmont Park, was caught making wagers on June 29 at Belmont, according to Jim Gallagher, vice president of regulatory compliance for the NYRA.

Gallagher said that Lazarus was suspended and the case referred to the board, which find Lazarus $500, though it waived $400 of the fine provided Lazarus does not wager again.

Carmine Donofrio, the racing board steward, said he felt the fine he issued was appropriate given the evidence in the case. According to the board, Lazarus had a clean record before this violation.

Mutuel clerks for the NYRA have been the center of a three-year federal and state investigation that resulted in the conviction of 16 mutuel clerks of tax evasion. Three other clerks have also been convicted of money-laundering charges.