03/27/2015 2:16PM

Criminal charges filed against four veterinarians in Pennsylvania


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania filed criminal charges Thursday in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg against four veterinarians for allegedly administering drugs to horses at Penn National within 24 hours of the horse being scheduled to race.

The alleged activity took place between 1986 and August 2014. The defendants allegedly conspired with horse trainers, whose identities are “known to the United States,” to administer the drugs in violation of the laws, rules, and regulations governing Thoroughbred racing.

The veterinarians are Kevin Brophy, 60, of Florida; Fernando Motta, 44, of Lancaster, Pa.; Christopher Korte, 43, of Colorado; and Renee Nodine, 52, of Annville, Pa.

The government has filed plea agreements with each of the veterinarians in which they have agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with the U.S. in the continuing investigation. The plea agreements are subject to the approval of the court.

The charges against the veterinarians follow the 2013 federal indictments of Penn National trainers David Wells, Sam Webb, and Patricia Ann Rogers.

Wells pleaded guilty in February as part of a plea deal to one charge of rigging a publicly exhibited contest and will serve three months in jail, be on probation for four years, and pay a $5,000 fine. Wells originally was indicted for conspiring to fix races and administering illegal substances to horses on race day from 2009 to 2013.

The case against Webb was thrown out of federal court. The case against Rogers is ongoing.

The charges filed against the four veterinarians state that trainers allegedly placed orders for drugs, and the veterinarians administered the drugs and backdated the billing records to avoid detection. The veterinarians also allegedly submitted false treatment reports to the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, omitting any reference to the drugs that were administered to the horses on race day.

The maximum penalty in these cases is two years imprisonment, followed by supervised release, plus a $2,000 fine.

The charges are being investigated by the Harrisburg office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigation, and the Pennsylvania State Police.