Former Vinery, Highland Farm Owner Hofmeister Sentenced To 41 Months In Prison

George Hofmeister, who once lived in a 35,000 square foot mansion he built on a Paris, Ky., Thoroughbred farm, is going to the “big house.”

On Wednesday in Lexington, Hofmeister was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison by United States District Court Judge Karen K. Caldwell for money laundering and theft from employee pension plans, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. The sentence was five months longer than the recommendation by prosecutors.

Hofmeister pleaded guilty in October and his court-appointed attorney, Jeffrey Darling, asked for no jail time, saying in a memorandum that Hofmeister, 66, had suffered enough from the consequences of the case and destroyed his professional career. Hofmeister, Darling said, was a self-made man who worked his way through college at an iron foundry and short-order cook, rose through the corporate world as a Price Waterhouse accountant, bought and fixed dozens of distressed companies, but now was “wrapping coins to have enough money to go to a McDonald’s drive-through.” Hofmeister and his wife, Kay, live in a condominium in Florida owned by their children, according to court documents.

Hofmeister entered the Thoroughbred industry in 1997, acquiring the stallion division of Vinery, then adding divisions in Australia and Utah. In March 1998, he paid $1.1 million for the breeding rights to Real Quiet, who would go on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, then offered shares on the eve of a Belmont Stakes defeat that put a $21-million valuation on the colt.

Hofmeister sold the entire Vinery operation to Tommy Simon in 1999 and developed Highland Farm in Paris. Published reports said Hofmeister owned up to 120 broodmares at the time.

In 2001, Highland Farm was put on the market with an asking price of $60 million, which included an estimated $9 million in bloodstock holdings. The farm sold in 2017 for $3.1 million after a default on its mortgage, the Herald-Leader reported, adding that the family’s possessions were sold at auction to pay for living expenses.

Hofmeister has been ordered to report to federal authorities by June 28.

Read more at Lexington Herald-Leader

The post Former Vinery, Highland Farm Owner Hofmeister Sentenced To 41 Months In Prison appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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