New York regulators slapped a veteran jockey agent with a minimum 10-year license revocation for his role in a case alleging computer tampering at the New York Racing Association.
The New York State Gaming Commission on Jan. 23 sharply strengthened the punishment recommended by a hearing officer in the case of Mike Gonzalez, who last year was arrested for bribing a New York Racing Association employee to gain access to "non-public" information on the InCompass computer system that tracks a variety of race-related details.
Robert Williams, executive director of the gaming commission, told the board Jan. 23 that Gonzalez had entered a plea deal, admitting to an attempt to commit computer trespassing, to resolve the case against him. He gave no specifics about the case.
The board, Williams said, has the power to take away a racing license if an applicant or licensee fails to establish "experience, character, and general fitness" to work in the industry.
Williams said a hearing on the matter was held in October before a state hearing officer. That hearing officer recommended Gonzalez's license be revoked or suspended for at least three years and a fine up to $25,000 be levied.
Peter Moschetti Jr., acting as temporary board chairman during the NYSGC meeting, said the hearing officer's findings were accepted by a 3-0 vote of the commission. But he said the officer's punishment recommendations were rejected. Instead, he said, the agency is revoking Gonzalez's license and is making him ineligible to re-apply for at least 10 years. It also is imposing a $25,000 fine against him.
In a press release issued last January, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown accused Gonzalez of accessing the computer system at least 170 times over a 15-month period; saying he paid a NYRA employee $100 a month to access information.