Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SCOTT MANGINI pled guilty today to conspiring to unlawfully distribute adulterated and misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead, in connection with the charges filed in United States v. Robinson et al., 20 Cr. 162 (JPO). MANGINI pled guilty before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken, and will be sentenced on September 10, 2021, before Judge Oetken.
U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Scott Mangini created and flooded the supply side of a market of greed that continues to endanger racehorses through the sale of performance-enhancing drugs. Mangini designed and created dozens of products intended for use by those engaged in fraud and animal abuse. His products were manufactured with no oversight of their composition, in shoddy facilities, despite prior efforts by state and federal regulators to shut down Mangini’s operation and strip his license. Mangini’s guilty plea underscores that our Office and our partners at the FBI are committed to the prosecution and investigation of corruption, fraud, and endangerment in the horse racing industry.”
According to the prior Indictments, the Superseding Information to which MANGINI pled guilty, and other court documents, as well as statements made in public court proceedings:
From at least in or about 2011 through at least in or about March 2020, MANGINI and his conspirators manufactured, sold, and shipped millions of dollars’ worth of adulterated and misbranded equine drugs, including performance-enhancing drugs (“PEDs”) intended to be administered to racehorses for the purpose of improving those horses’ race performance in order to win races and obtain prize money. MANGINI, a former pharmacist whose license was suspended in 2016, sold these drugs through several direct-to-consumer websites designed to appeal to racehorse trainers and owners, including, among others, “horseprerace.com” and “racehorsemeds.com.”
MANGINI contributed to the conspiracy by, among other things, using his training to design and create custom PEDs that were advertised and sold online, using misleading labels, packaging, and return address information, including sales to customers in the Southern District of New York. Among the drugs advertised and sold during the course of the conspiracy were “blood builders,” which are used by racehorse trainers and others to increase red blood cell counts and/or the oxygenation of muscle tissue of a racehorse in order to stimulate the horse’s endurance, which enhances that horse’s performance in, and recovery from, a race, as well as customized analgesics that are used by racehorse trainers and others to deaden a horse’s nerves and block pain in order to improve a horse’s race performance. MANGINI and his co-conspirators repeatedly touted illegal drugs sold on these websites as substances that “WILL NOT TEST” in the event of drug screens by racing officials. For example, MANGINI’s pain-numbing product “Numb It Injection” was advertised as a “proprietary formula and without question the most powerful pain shot in the market today AND WILL NOT TEST,” and customers were expressly directed to administer the drug by “injection as close to the event or extreme exercise as possible.”
The drugs distributed through the defendant’s websites were manufactured in non-Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) -registered facilities and carried significant risks to the animals affected through the administration of those illicit PEDs. For example, in 2016, MANGINI and his co-conspirator, Scott Robinson, who was previously convicted and sentenced in this case, received a complaint regarding the effect of his unregulated drugs on a customer’s horse: “starting bout 8 hours after I give the injection and for about 36 hours afterwards both my horses act like they are heavily sedated, can barely walk. Could I have a bad bottle of medicine, I’m afraid to give it anymore since this has happened three times.” Commenting on this complaint to MANGINI, Robinson wrote simply, “here is another one.”
MANGINI is among 29 individuals charged to date in a series of Indictments arising from an investigation of a widespread scheme by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, PED distributors, and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to secretly administer those PEDs to racehorses competing at all levels of professional horseracing. By evading PED prohibitions and deceiving regulators, horse racing officials, and the FDA, among others, participants in these schemes sought to improve race performance and obtain prize money from racetracks, all to the detriment and risk of the health and well-being of the racehorses.
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MANGINI, 55, of Boca Raton, Florida, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the federal drug misbranding and adulteration laws. This offense carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York FBI Office’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force and its support of the FBI’s Integrity in Sports and Gaming Initiative. Ms. Strauss also thanked the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the New York State Police, and the New York City Police Department for their support of this investigation, and the FDA and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for their assistance and expertise.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Sarah Mortazavi, Anden Chow, Benet Kearney, and Andrew C. Adams are in charge of the prosecution.