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Post date: September 13 2000

Harness Drivers Enter Pleas Of Guilty In Yonkers Raceway Case

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office's Organized Crime Task Force ended its criminal case against three former Yonkers Raceway harness drivers by accepting guilty pleas from each defendant for their failure to file New York State tax returns.

The drivers, Herve Filion, 60; Frederick Grant, 49; and David Ingraham, 39; were sentenced by Westchester County Court Judge Kenneth Lange to a conditional discharge for a period of one year. Today's court proceeding brought to conclusion a five-year case involving charges of race fixing at Yonkers Raceway and illegal gambling arising out of an investigation of Scarsdale resident Daniel Kramer.

A 1995 wiretap on Kramer's telephones resulted in two separate indictments, one charging ten defendants with various counts of promoting gambling and possession of gambling records, and the other charging Kramer and four harness racing drivers, Filion, Ingraham, Grant, and Darren Ryder with tampering with a sports contest at Yonkers Raceway, conspiracy and grand larceny. Filion was also charged with receiving a sports bribe. Thirteen defendants subsequently pled guilty to various charges and collectively forfeited $2,385,000 dollars in criminal proceeds.

In 1996, Kramer pled guilty to tampering with a sports contest and felony possession of gambling records and forfeited $2 million. Ryder also pled guilty to tampering with a sport contest. Shortly thereafter, Judge Lange suppressed the wiretap evidence and dismissed the larceny counts. The Attorney General's Office appealed that decision and, after four years of appeals, ultimately prevailed on the admissibility of the wiretap evidence. The Court of Appeals, however, dismissed the larceny counts against Filion, Grant and Ingraham.

The case returned to the trial court in March of this year. In addition to Kramer, five defendants pled guilty to felony counts of promoting gambling in the first degree (Patsy Capolongo, Steven Muller, Paul Cuzzo, Alphonse Cuzzo, Joseph Daniello), and three defendants pled guilty to misdemeanor counts of promoting gambling in the second degree (Joseph Assenzio, Robert Daniello, Thomas Bruno).

Both Grant and Ingraham voluntarily surrendered their New York State harness racing licenses after they were indicted. Filion's license remains the subject of a proceeding before the State's Racing and Wagering Board.