Horsemen's Groups, ARCI Issue Scam Alert Over Claiming Scheme - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Horsemen’s Groups, ARCI Issue Scam Alert Over Claiming Scheme

A multi-state fraud alert has been issued by the Association of Racing Commissioners International over a claiming scam. The state racing commissions have involved federal and state law enforcement agencies, according to the ARCI.

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association posted the following alert on Facebook:

“Horsemen are advised that a woman who last week was licensed as an owner by the Maryland Racing Commission has been caught scamming trainers. Maryland racing officials were notified by an executive at Louisiana Downs Casino and Racing that two trainers were scammed by Helena Issa, the licensed owner. She is said to be working with a man whose name was not available.

“Issa asked a Maryland trainer to claim a horse for her and said she would send a cashier's check. The horse was claimed in late May for $32,000 at Pimlico Race Course in the trainer's name, but the cashier's check sent by Issa bounced, officials said. The MRC has been notified of the situation.”

The ARCI reports that a similar scam has been either attempted or reported at the following racetracks: Oaklawn Park, Santa Anita Park, Keeneland, Turfway, Belterra, Laurel, Thistledown, Mountaineer, Indiana Grand, Louisiana Downs, and Finger Lakes.

At Finger Lakes, the ARCI reports that the man and woman involved in the scheme went by the names Zakaria Tarabichi and Helene Issa, respectively. The two posed as new entrants to racing, and contract with a trainer to claim horses on their behalf. They then provide a cashier's check to the bookkeeper, and persuade the trainer to remit a portion back to them.

The cashier's check is fraudulent; at Finger Lakes, the purported amount of the check was $60,000, with $9,900 remitted.

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