Horse Race Scam Foiled By a Quirk of Fate

ByABC News
November 21, 2003, 4:20 PM

Nov. 24 -- The odds of winning big at the race track can be hundreds, or thousands, to one against. Only a few ever get that far. And some don't even collect when they do win.

Few know that, from the dropped and lost race tickets left uncashed each year, there are millions of dollars that remain unclaimed.

For a short time last year, those few included two young men who knew where to find the money and how to get it. Their misadventures would eventually lead them to what is thought to be the largest betting scandal in American sporting history.

In an exclusive interview for Primetime Monday, Glen DaSilva, a key player in the scandal, sat down and discussed his involvement in the scheme which rocked the betting world. It is the first time that any of the principal players involved in the scandal has agreed to a television interview.

An Ominous Meeting of the Minds

The story began about 10 years ago at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where Glen DaSilva met his roommate Chris Harn, a shy yet talented computer whiz kid in his freshman year.

The friendship was serendipitous. Harn helped DaSilva with computers and the charismatic DaSilva helped Harn socialize. DaSilva eventually convinced Harn to join the same fraternity as he did.

DaSilva stayed friends with Harn after college and moved to Manhattan. But the slow job market began to wear on him. "It's the 'why me' syndrome. 'Why do I continue to be the one who's laid off?,' " recalls DaSilva, 30.

But DaSilva liked the high life and began using drugs. He was even arrested for cocaine possession. At this low point for DaSilva, financially and emotionally, Harn approached DaSilva with an idea for how to make a few quick bucks.

Now working as a programmer with a company named Autotote, a company which handles most of the nation's horse racing bets, Harn discovered those tickets which remain uncashed were listed in his company's computer.