Harness Trainer, Alleged Navarro Co-Conspirator Oakes Pleads Guilty To PED Charges

Harness trainer Christopher Oakes pled guilty to one count of misbranding and drug adulteration with intent to defraud or deceive on Wednesday, when he appeared before U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil via teleconference. According to documents filed with the court, Oakes could face anywhere from one to three years in federal prison for the charge, but he has made an agreement with prosecutors to serve the full 36 months. Judge Vyskocil pointed out that she is not legally required to uphold a deal arranged between prosecutors and defendants, and that sentencing will be guided in part by probation department guidelines.

In addition to prison time, Oakes could face a year of probation. He has also agreed to a fine ranging from $20,000 to $200,000 in addition to a forfeiture amount of $62,821. The forfeiture amount has already been paid from assets seized at the time of the investigation, according to prosecutors.

“I purchased medications from Dr. Seth Fishman and Dr. Gregory Skelton and his assistant Ross Cohen and administered the medications to the horses in my care to gain an unfair advantage,” Oakes told Vyskocil in his allocution. “I knew it was wrong, Your Honor, yes.”

Had the case gone to trial, prosecutors said they would have presented results of wiretaps which included verbal and electronic communications with other defendants, including Jorge Navarro. Evidence from prior court documents depicted Oakes consulting with Navarro on administration practices and distribution for performance enhancing drugs. Prosecutors also said they had evidence gathered from two searches, one of which was a “covert search” of Oakes’ barn.

Navarro changed his plea from not guilty to guilty this summer, but has not yet been sentenced. Oakes will be sentenced on Feb. 17.

The post Harness Trainer, Alleged Navarro Co-Conspirator Oakes Pleads Guilty To PED Charges appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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