Perth Jockey Clint Harvey has pleaded guilty to 21 counts of gaining benefit by fraud after it was revealed he allowed a friend used his bank account to defraud Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) out of $11,000.
Bernard Ryan, who was a handicapper with RWWA, siphoned more than $11,000 from the RWWA coffers in 2007.
The magistrate heard that Ryan told RWWA that the funds were going to jockeys who had lost rides because of late scratchings. The funds were instead transferred straight to Harvey.
Jockeys who have their mounts scratched late still receive standard riding fees, however Ryan was diverting money for scratched horses that had no riders assigned to them.
Harvey’s legal counsel, Michael Tudori, told the court that his client never took possession of the money, and transferred $11,358 back to the account of Mr Ryan and pulled out of the scam, saying ‘enough was enough’.
Mr Tudori told the court that Harvey had fully co-operated with both racing stewards and police, and that he never pocketed a cent of the ill-gotten funds.
He went on to say that his client had been stood down from racing in May 2010, which resulted in a big loss of income and substantial hardship. Mr Tudori then went on to say that Harvey had been under great stress leading up to the offences.
He mentioned that Harvey’s partner had become a paraplegic after a horse riding incident in 2005 and that Harvey himself suffered a broken back and head injury that put him in hospital for five months before his return in 2007.
Magistrate Richard Bayly said that while the offences were of a serious nature, he took into account the fact that Harvey had received no financial benefit from the arrangement, and that he had fully co-operated with both racing stewards and police.
Harvey was stood down from race riding by WA stewards on May 10. He is expected to cop a harsh suspension over his involvement in this scam.