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Post date: February 28 2000

Spitzer Secures Double Felony Guilty Plea In Otb Investigation

Attorney General Spitzer today secured a two-count felony plea from the former head of Capital District Region Off-Track Betting who was accused of bribery and defrauding the government.

The case against Davis Etkin is part of an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecution Bureau and Public Integrity Unit examining the management of OTB.

Etkin, 72, of Niskayuna pleaded guilty before Judge Guy Tomlinson in Schenectady County Court to two charges: Bribing a Witness, a class "D" Felony; and Defrauding the Government, a class "E" Felony.

Etkin admitted that as President of OTB he used and diverted corporate assets for personal benefit, hired a no-show employee, and bribed a prospective grand jury witness.

"For years, Davis Etkin authorized expenditures that rewarded his family, friends and associates, and abused his position. With this plea, however, we have demonstrated that public officials -- no matter how influential or entrenched -- will be held accountable for their actions."

Etkin was arrested today, processed, and waived indictment. Under the law, a class E felony carries a possible maximum prison term of one and 1/3 years to 4 years in state prison and a fine of $5,000 or twice the amount of the defendant's gain from the commission of the crime; a class D felony carries a possible prison sentence of two and 1/3 to seven years in state prison and a fine of $5,000 or twice the amount of defendant's gain from the commission of the crime.

As part of the plea agreement, Etkin agreed to make full restitution as determined by the court, and has agreed to waive his right to appeal. He further agreed to cooperate in the ongoing investigation into OTB. Earlier this year, Davis Etkin's son Mark pleaded guilty to Bribery in the second Degree stemming from allegations in a May indictment in which he was charged with offering a potential Grand Jury witness $2,100 to influence testimony related to his father. In an associated matter, a March trial is scheduled in case of two local contractors and another former OTB official who were indicted on 10 counts of allegedly conspiring to rig bids for heating ventilation and air conditioning contracts.

Note to News Rooms: AUDIO is available by contacting the Attorney General's 24-hour, toll-free news line at (877) 345-3466, Choice 2.