A former inspector with B.C.’s Gaming Policy Enforcement branch is facing more than 30 charges — including accepting bribes and breach of trust — in connection with allegations of corruption related to the horse racing industry.
A former inspector with B.C.’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch is facing more than 30 charges — including accepting bribes and breach of trust — in connection with allegations of corruption related to the horse-racing industry.
Darren Scott Young is slated to make a first appearance in Vancouver provincial court Thursday afternoon in connection with 36 charges that appear to have emerged from a 2019 investigation into activities of workers and trainers at the city’s Hastings Racecourse.
According to court documents, Young is accused of accepting benefits in amounts ranging between $693 and $1,390 from companies and people “having dealings with the branch.”
He is also accused of committing fraud in connection with the duties of his office by issuing fraudulent racing licences to 14 people — some of whose names match individuals arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in 2019 for working without a proper immigration permit.
Young also faces 15 charges under the Immigration Act for inducing, aiding or abetting people to employ some of those same people without authorization.
The names of the people who Young is accused of accepting bribes from match those of a number of local horse trainers. Nearly all the charges relate to activities alleged to have occurred in 2019.
The charges appear to be related to an “extensive” investigation into corruption that Attorney General David Eby spoke about in public comments in 2019.
Concerns raised by whistleblower
The case came to light after a series of CBSA raids and Immigration and Refugee Board hearings, where it emerged that a Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch staff member had allegedly falsified documents to allow foreign nationals without work permits to work as groomers at the Hastings Racecourse.
Seven men from Mexico were arrested at the track by the CBSA and ordered out of the country.
One of those men — who is also identified in the charges against Young — told the Toronto Star that “he spoke with an official who asked to see his passports and credentials, then issued him a card that, he was told, entitled him to work at the racecourse.”
At the time, Eby said a whistleblower came directly to his office with allegations in October 2018, long before the workers even arrived in the country and began work at the track.
The attorney general said his office notified the gaming branch, which launched an investigation and found “concerns” about one of its employees.
Everyone working in the gaming industry in British Columbia, including racetrack operators, must register with gaming officials. Anyone working in horse racing must also obtain a licence for the specific track where they’re employed.
At the time of the raids, the general manager of the racecourse told the media the workers were supervised by the owners and trainers of horses stabled at the racecourse — owners who are not affiliated with the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, which operates the racecourse.
In 2019, Eby said the employee at the centre of the investigation was suspended. Young could not be reached for comment prior to his court appearance, and an email to his government address bounced back.
None of the charges against Young have been proven in court.