Robinson, Defendant In Federal Doping Indictment, Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

Scott Robinson, one of the defendants in the federal case that rocked horse racing in March 2020, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison. The Thoroughbred Daily News reported that U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken handed down the sentence on Tuesday after Robinson pleaded guilty to one count of drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy in September 2020.

Robinson, together with pharmacist Scott Mangini, was accused of operating consumer-facing websites such as HorsePreRace, peddling products which purported to be blood builders and pain blockers which were allegedly untestable, as well as discounted versions of prescription drugs despite not being an FDA-approved manufacturer. Robinson is neither a veterinarian nor a pharmacist.

Click here to read the Paulick Report’s investigation of HorsePreRace from 2016.

A pre-sentencing report filed by federal prosecutors ahead of Oetken’s ruling revealed even more disturbing details about the conditions in which those products were made. A state pharmacy board inspection report dated February 2016 which was published by the Paulick Report had picked up on unsanitary conditions at co-conspirator Scott Mangini’s facility in Florida: the Florida Department of Health Records noted that there was no working sink in the pharmacy for hand washing, and employees were instead using a ten-gallon bucket. The department noted so much dust on the counters where prescriptions were made that an investigator was able to trace letters in the dirt with an alcohol swab — a particular problem since some products were injectables. Ingredients were mislabeled.

Click here to read more about Mangini’s facility from this 2016 investigative feature by the Paulick Report.

Even before that inspection however, the report cited communications from Robinson to Mangini indicating he knew something could be wrong with the products he was selling. In spring 2015, Robinson began asking Mangini whether there had been changes to manufacturing processes.

“R u making stuff different? I have a lot of stuff that doesn’t look same and has stuff floating in it. Blood building peptide has black particles,” one message to Mangini read.

“[Employee] has been complaining of bugs coming out of boxes u send. I told him he was crazy until I found one floating in bottle today when labeling,” read another, also to Mangini.

The Board of Pharmacy conducted its inspection in December 2015, but Robinson was dismissive of any danger resulting from the inspection, writing to Mangini, “And board of pharmacy worries about u? They got bigger problems! Lol.”

(Mangini, who has been charged with two counts of drug adulteration and misbranding, has entered a not guilty plea and his case is ongoing.)

Between December 2015 and January 2016, Robinson fielded complaints from trainers who had injected Pentosan into their horses, only to see the horses become severely depressed and unable to move. The horses’ veterinarian attributed the reactions to a bad batch. The pre-sentencing report indicated Robinson “was dismissive of these complaints.”

When federal agents executed search warrants on premises used by Robinson in September 2019, prosecutors say he became incensed and “attempted to extort the federal agents involved in the seizure by threatening to release a letter to certain members of the racehorse industry informing them of of the existence and scope of the FBI’s investigation if the FBI did not immediately return his electronic devices the same day they were seized. After being informed his threat was itself a crime, Robinson retracted his threat hours later.”

After he became aware the FBI was investigating him, prosecutors say Robinson continued distributing adulterated and misbranded drugs, generating “millions of dollars in revenue.”

Prosecutors had requested the maximum available sentence of five years in prison, while Robinson’s defense team, pointing out his lack of prior criminal convictions, suggested he serve no time. Defense attorneys painted a picture of a man who had risen to business success from near-homelessness and who battled depression and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) due to injuries sustained in the United States Navy. Letters from friends and family framed Robinson as a caring person who gave liberally to charity and financially supported family members.

Although Robinson had no criminal history, prosecutors did note that he was court martialed in 1998 and dishonorably discharged from the Navy after he admitted to reselling anabolic steroids to other enlisted members of the Navy.

One character reference letter in support of Robinson’s defense came from New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, where executive director Dot Morgan wrote that Robinson “donated a massive amount of his compounded omeprazole ulcer treatment” to the program in 2010 and 2011. In 2014, HorsePreRace and HorseGold (of which Robinson was president) were the recipients of warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration warning them to stop marketing omeprazole and other products designed to act as prescription drugs because they were not approved as mass manufacturers of drugs.

Another letter, from Robinson’s psychiatrist, highlighted the defendant’s feelings for horses.

“From my three years of work with Mr. Robinson, I have become aware of his great knowledge of and love for racehorses,” wrote Dr. Ronald E. DeMao. “Horses and horse racing have literally “been his life.” It is inconceivable to me that he would ever do anything to intentionally harm a horse. In fact, he has developed products to aid in the physical health and rehabilitation of horses. I have heard him speak in very pejorative terms about others who ‘dope’ or harshly train racehorses.”

Robinson is required to surrender himself on Sept. 7, 2021 to begin his sentence. He will have another three years of supervised release after serving his time.

The post Robinson, Defendant In Federal Doping Indictment, Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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