Informant Admits to Early '90s Race Fixing in New Jersey

A mobster-turned-informant, currently serving as a government witness in a federal extortion trial in Camden, N. J., testified Thursday that he helped fix races at Atlantic City Racecourse and Garden State Park while employed there in the 1990s, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ron Previte, 57, who is also expected to testify against reputed Philadelphia mob leader Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, said that he committed "all sorts of crimes" before he began working as an informant for the FBI. As an employee of two N. J. racetracks, Previte would "manipulate the postrace urine tests of winning horses" by "substituting samples of good urine for the urine of horses that had been doped in order to enhance their performances."

Michael Vukevich, deputy director of the New Jersey Racing Commission, confirmed that Previte was licensed by the NJRC in the "early 1990's," and did work in detention barns of both Garden State and Atlantic City. However, Vukevich said that the NJRC's computer system could not provide the exact years during which Previte would have been performing his spit box duties.

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