01/27/2016 1:40PM

Jockey agent arrested and charged with computer trespass


Mike Gonzalez, a veteran jockey agent, was arrested and charged with illegally accessing the New York Racing Association’s computer system 170 times over a 15-month period, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Queens County, N.Y., district attorney’s office.

Gonzalez was charged with 170 counts of computer trespass and 170 counts of second-degree tampering with a sports contest. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.

According to the charges, Gonzalez paid a NYRA employee $100 a month from January 2014 through April 1, 2015, for a password that gave him access to the InCompass computer system used by NYRA – and most racetracks – which contains information such as entries, workouts, and a list of horses deemed ineligible to race by the track veterinarian. At the time, Gonzalez was the agent for Manny Franco.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown said: “The defendant is accused of ‘hacking’ into the Racing Association’s computer system and illegally trolling for valuable racetrack-related data that he could use to his own advantage to secure horses for his jockey. In today’s computerized world, cyber break-ins are a growing threat and will be dealt with in an appropriate manner when uncovered.”

The investigation that led to the charges was conducted by the New York State Police after NYRA brought the issue of possible misconduct to its attention.

On April 1, 2015, Gonzalez, Jose Morales Jr., and Stephen Foster were escorted off the grounds at Aqueduct and were barred from Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga, the three tracks operated by NYRA. Neither Morales nor Foster was charged by the Queens County DA, nor was either mentioned as the NYRA employee who accepted the money from Gonzalez. However, the Queens County DA’s office said the investigation is still ongoing.

Morales did work in the racing office for part of the time that Gonzalez allegedly paid a NYRA employee for access to the system, leaving NYRA in early September 2014 to become a jockey agent for Angel Arroyo. Foster was the head clocker and a placing/patrol judge. Foster was fired by NYRA last June 1.

CLARIFICATION: Due to incorrect information provided by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, a previous version of this story stated that Mike Gonzalez was not licensed as a jockey agent in Florida. Gonzalez does hold a current license.