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Men under scrutiny in bet had college link

A Baltimore man whose $3.1 million windfall on a horse racing wager isunder investigation attended the same college and lived in the same fraternityhouse as the computer engineer who has been fired over the processing of thebet.

Derrick Davis and Christopher Harn attended but did not graduate fromDrexel University in Philadelphia, said Kevin Kaufman, a spokesman for theuniversity.

Davis operates a computer installation and service business in Baltimore.He holds the winning tickets to the Ultra Pick Six for the Oct. 26 Breeders'Cup day at Arlington Park near Chicago.

In a Pick Six, the bettor has to correctly select the winners in sixconsecutive races.

However, racing officials at the Breeders' Cup found the wager suspicious -Davis bet only the winner in the first four races and the entire field in thelast two - and froze payment. They asked regulators in New York state, wherethe bet was logged by a telephone betting service, to review the transaction.An investigation is under way by the New York State Wagering and Racing Board.

On Thursday, the Delaware-based company that tallied wagers for the phoneservice announced that it had found evidence of "potential employeewrongdoing" concerning the Pick Six and fired a software engineer, who waslater identified as Harn.

The company, Autotote, turned over evidence collected in its internalinvestigation to the racing board and state police.

Reached at his home yesterday in Newark, Del., Harn said, "I cannot makeany comment."

His attorney, Daniel Conti, acknowledged that Harn was the subject of acriminal investigation but said he had broken no laws.

"Suppositions abound, yet no one involved with the investigation hasreferred to a single shred of legally recognizable evidence that Chris didanything wrong. I'm confident that once the facts are known, his name will becleared, and he can get on with his life," Conti said.

Davis, too, has declined to comment. His attorney, Steven A. Allen ofBaltimore, said Davis made a legitimate bet and expressed confidence that hewould be exonerated by the investigation.

Neither attorney would say whether the men know each other. But publicrecords show that Davis and Harn, both of whom are 29 years old, listed thesame address in Philadelphia in 1994. The property, owned by Drexel, isoperated by the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

New York investigators believe the men were fraternity brothers at Drexel,according to sources involved in the investigation, who spoke on the conditionof anonymity.

Both men also share a background in the computer industry. Davis is listedon state incorporation records as the incorporator and sole director ofUtopian Networks Inc. at 323 S. Collington Ave.

The company, incorporated March 1, 2000, is involved in the "design,installation, integration and maintenance" of large-area and wide-areacomputer networks, according to the documents.

Harn had access to computer passwords as part of his work at Autotote andcould have altered bets, said Lorne Weil, chairman of the company's parentcompany, Scientific Games of New York.

Autotote, based in Newark, tallies bets made by telephone, computer or"simulcasts" at racetracks and off-track betting outlets. It was employed byCatskill Off-Track Betting Corp., based in Pomona, N.Y., to process bets.Davis opened an account with Catskill a week or two before the Breeders' Cupand used its automated telephone system to place his bets.

Investigators are exploring the possibility that someone changed Davis'bets in the computer system after the races were run - and the winners wereknown - but before the bets were forwarded to a central computer system.

Neither Harn nor Davis has been charged.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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