Updated on 02/04/2012 10:13AM

Sean Alfortish sentenced to 46 months in prison


Sean Alfortish, the former president of the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, on Thursday was sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in rigging an HBPA election and an array of other charges. He was also ordered to pay $105,104 in restitution. The sentence was handed down in federal court in New Orleans.

Alfortish, 44, has about 60 days to get his affairs in order before reporting to prison, according to the offices of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

Alfortish pleaded guilty in August to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, identity fraud, and health care fraud. His plea came less than a week before he was to stand trial in a case in which two of his former associates, Mona Romero and Cricket Romero, had already pleaded guilty. Cricket Romero, 50, was sentenced in September, while Mona Romero, 53, the organization’s former executive director, was scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.

The case dates back to a 2008 Louisiana HBPA election in which Alfortish was seeking his second term as president, after being first elected in 2005. He was re-elected, but in November 2010 a federal grand jury returned a 29-count indictment against Alfortish and Mona Romero that alleged the pair had conspired with others to “rig the outcome” of the election.

Alfortish, in his plea admitted that he and others had conspired to fix the election, with one of the objectives being to replace some of the board members who had questioned his management, according to a press release issued by the offices of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. Alfortish admitted fraudulent ballots were cast using the Social Security numbers of some Louisiana HBPA members without their consent, and that under his direction three people subsequently flew to Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, and Texas to mail those ballots.

Cricket Romero, who in December 2010 pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft in the mail-fraud case, was sentenced to three years probation with the special condition of six months home detention. She was also fined $3,000.

Alfortish was also charged with health care fraud concerning payments made from the Louisiana Horsemen’s Medical Benefit trust account, and, according to a release, he admitted diverting funds from it “under the guise of administrative expenses of the trust.” The original indictment also alleged a wire fraud scheme tied to a distribution of relief funds after Hurricane Katrina.

Before his affiliation with the Louisiana horsemen's association, Alfortish was involved in "unlawful" sports agent activities in Florida. He was charged with "illegally funneling cash to two University of Florida football players in 1997-1998," according to the archives of the Gainesville Sun. Alfortish was charged with a felony, but as part of a 2000 plea agreement the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and he was ordered to pay $30,000 to cover the cost of the investigation. Alfortish became the president of the Louisiana horsemen's association in 2005, and served in that capacity through 2010. A former magistrate and practicing attorney, he is a resident of Kenner, La.