Servis, Navarro, others arraigned on new indictment for drug case

Servis, Navarro, others arraigned on new indictment for drug case
Photo: Mahoud Khaled/Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia

Fourteen defendants in a federal case involving alleged doping violations by former trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro had another day in court on Tuesday, with all pleading not guilty to a charges in a superseding indictment. Five charges are split among the defendants.

The superseding indictment, filed Nov. 5, replaces the original that was filed in the case that was filed Feb. 26 and entered Mar. 9. The new indictment adds a charge of wire fraud against Servis, as well as veterinarians Alexander Chan and Kristian Rhein.

All three previously were charged with drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy.

“Servis, Rhein, Chan and others created fraudulent veterinary bills that were sent to racehorse owners, including a racehorse owner in the Southern District of New York, which falsely billed owners for the undisclosed use of adulterated and misbranded drugs on the owners’ horses,” reads the indictment, which was filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on Nov. 5.

The wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on its own.

Servis was one of only three of the 14 defendants who participated in the hearing, which was held via telephone because of COVID-19 restrictions. He did not say much, but he did offer a plea of not guilty to all of his charges.

The charges for Navarro were unchanged, remaining two counts of drug adulteration and misbranding.

According to U.S. attorney Andrew Adams, the superseding indictment also makes an additional allegation to a charge against veterinarian Seth Fishman, with “sentencing exposure implications,” that Fishman did not stop his charged illegal conduct even after being arrested and released in October 2019.

The addition to the original charge of drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy alleges that from December 2019 through February 2020, Fishman, a veterinarian and alleged Navarro co-conspirator, let Lisa Giannelli, a co-defendant, use his veterinary license to order and obtain prescription veterinary drugs to be stored and sold to customers without a valid prescription.

The cases against Servis, Navarro and the rest of the defendants began in March, when 27 people were indicted in four cases, accused of scheming to drug horses and participating in the drugging of horses.

Those original defendants include Scott Robinson, who allegedly operated a website where trainers could get performance-enhancing drugs, and Sarah Izhaki, who allegedly supplied PEDs. They were charged with drug adulteration and misbranding conspiracy, with an additional charge of smuggling for Izhaki.

Servis’ lawyer asked whether the government anticipates any further superseding indictments in the next few months, a question that Adams declined to answer, as the case remains in discovery.

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