A Baltimore man whose $3.1 million windfall on a horse racing wager is under investigation attended the same college and lived in the same fraternity house as the computer engineer who has been fired over the processing of the bet.
Derrick Davis and Christopher Harn attended but did not graduate from Drexel University in Philadelphia, said Kevin Kaufman, a spokesman for the university.
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 six consecutive 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 the last two - and froze payment. They asked regulators in New York state, where the 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 phone service announced that it had found evidence of "potential employee wrongdoing" concerning the Pick Six and fired a software engineer, who was later identified as Harn.
The company, Autotote, turned over evidence collected in its internal investigation to the racing board and state police.
Reached at his home yesterday in Newark, Del., Harn said, "I cannot make any comment."
His attorney, Daniel Conti, acknowledged that Harn was the subject of a criminal investigation but said he had broken no laws.
"Suppositions abound, yet no one involved with the investigation has referred to a single shred of legally recognizable evidence that Chris did anything wrong. I'm confident that once the facts are known, his name will be cleared, and he can get on with his life," Conti said.
Davis, too, has declined to comment. His attorney, Steven A. Allen of Baltimore, said Davis made a legitimate bet and expressed confidence that he would be exonerated by the investigation.
Neither attorney would say whether the men know each other. But public records show that Davis and Harn, both of whom are 29 years old, listed the same address in Philadelphia in 1994. The property, owned by Drexel, is operated 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 condition of anonymity.
Both men also share a background in the computer industry. Davis is listed on state incorporation records as the incorporator and sole director of Utopian 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-area computer networks, according to the documents.
Harn had access to computer passwords as part of his work at Autotote and could have altered bets, said Lorne Weil, chairman of the company's parent company, 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 by Catskill 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' Cup and 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 were known - but before the bets were forwarded to a central computer system.
Neither Harn nor Davis has been charged.