Updated on 09/16/2011 8:51AM

Second suspect pleads guilty

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Reuters/Mike Segar
Glen DaSilva admitted his role in cashing counterfeit mutuel tickets.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Glen DaSilva, one of three suspects in a year-long fraudulent wagering scheme, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer fraud and one count of money laundering.

DaSilva, 29, of Manhattan, pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to cash counterfeits of unclaimed winning mutuel tickets from 2001 and to manipulate pick four and pick six wagers placed through his Catskill Off-Track Betting account in October at Balmoral Park and Belmont Park. The two schemes netted approximately $200,000 in winnings.

DaSilva's guilty plea came two weeks after his former Drexel University fraternity brother, Christopher Harn, 29, of Newark, Del., pleaded guilty to the same charges and admitted he was the mastermind behind the scheme. Harn also rigged the winning Breeders' Cup pick six ticket for a $3 million payout, which has been frozen.

The Breeders' Cup wager was made by Harn through an account set up by Derrick Davis, a third Drexel fraternity brother. Davis, 29, of Baltimore, was expected to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer fraud in federal court on Thursday. Davis's attorney, Steve Allen, was unable to be in White Plains on Wednesday.

DaSilva is not linked to the winning Breeders' Cup pick six bet, and in a somewhat startling revelation, he said in court Wednesday that he was not even aware of Davis's involvement until after the Breeders' Cup.

Harn was able to manipulate the wagers through his job as a senior software engineer for Autotote, the country's largest bet-processing company, and his access to the electronic wagering network.

While DaSilva could face a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and fines up to $750,000, it is likely he will receive a much lighter penalty. A government lawyer's opinion sent to U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Fox - who presided over Wednesday's hearing - recommended a sentence of 21 to 27 months and a minimum fine of $4,000 as well as restitution of the approximate $200,000 in winnings.

"He's going to take responsibility for what he did,'' said Ed Hayes, the attorney representing DaSilva. "He got involved in something he shouldn't have done. He's going to take his medicine, which isn't going to be fun.''

Hayes said that DaSilva, who tested positive for cocaine at an earlier hearing, has undergone 30 urine tests in the last 10 weeks, and all have come back clean. Hayes said that DaSilva would seek drug counseling.

DaSilva, who declined comment, is due to be sentenced on March 11 by U.S. District Court Judge Charles L. Bryant.

According to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity, Davis may face as much as 37 months in prison, because of his involvement in the Breeders' Cup ticket, which involved more money.

DaSilva, dressed smartly in a blue-gray suit, entered his guilty pleas in an agreement with the United States attorney's office for the southern district of New York, which filed a 16-page complaint against DaSilva, outlining the charges.

According to the complaint, Harn was able to print thousands of counterfeits of winning tickets that went uncashed in 2001. Harn sent those tickets to DaSilva and Davis, who cashed them at tracks in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. DaSilva is believed to have cashed the bulk of those tickets, doing so at Monmouth Park, The Meadowlands, and Freehold Raceway in New Jersey and Aqueduct and Belmont Park in New York.

After redeeming the duplicate winning tickets, DaSilva and Davis divided the cash proceeds of those tickets with Harn, according to the complaint.

DaSilva was also involved in a scheme to alter pick four and pick six tickets before they were processed and sent to the host track, the complaint said.

On Oct. 3, DaSilva opened an account with Catskill OTB, and that night Harn made and manipulated a pick four wager at Balmoral Park, a harness track in Illinois, that netted a $1,757 payoff. After the first two races in the pick four were run, Harn was able to access the electronic wagering system and change the ticket to select the winners. The bet used the entire fields in each of the last two races, insuring that it would be a winner.

Two days later, Harn, again through DaSilva's Catskill account, made and manipulated a pick six wager at Belmont Park, resulting in a payoff of $107,608 to DaSilva's account. The wager used single selections in the first four legs and the entire field in the last two legs. Harn used that same format in making his Breeders' Cup pick six bet.

The money laundering charge stems from the way DaSilva disposed of the winnings from the Belmont pick six bet. DaSilva requested Catskill OTB send him a check for $80,000, which he then deposited into his Citibank account. At Harn's request, DaSilva sent checks totaling $31,500 to pay off Harn's mortgage and car loan.

Hayes said that DaSilva, Harn, and Davis left an electronic paper trail that made the U.S. attorney's job very simple. Hayes said without a series of cell phone records, e-mails, and bank withdrawals, the U.S. attorney couldn't have made the case.

"They used very unsophisticated techniques of hiding their relationship,'' Hayes said. "They're amateurs. They're not cut out for a life of crime.''