NEW ORLEANS — Eyebrows are being raised in Louisiana horse racing circles with the recent nomination of federal fraud convict Sean Alfortish for a board of directors’ seat with the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.
Alfortish served more than two years in federal prison for defrauding the LHBPA by orchestrating an elaborate yet sloppy scam to rig the 2008 election to get himself re-elected president of the organization. He went to prison in 2012.
Alfortish, a disbarred attorney and one-time Kenner magistrate judge, pleaded guilty mail and wire fraud conspiracy in the case. Federal authorities described the crimes as low-tech scheme in which he had assistants fly to different cities to mail bogus ballots, thinking that the out-of-state postmarks would cover up the fraud. The two assistants also pleaded guilty.
Alfortish, who still owns racehorses, has now emerged as one of 18 people nominated for five seats for owners on the LHBPA board, according to the organization’s documents and an industry website.
For three years while Alfortish was on supervised release after he served 28 months of a four-year prison sentence, he was prohibited from having any involvement in the election process.
“Defendant must not participate, directly or indirectly, in the Louisiana HBPA election process” other than voting, stated the magistrate court document outlining the terms of his prison release.
Some people in racing circles expressed surprise that Alfortish has resurfaced as a candidate.
“You’re kidding right?” was one person’s reaction. “That’s just audacious.”
Alfortish has recently been in the news as a figure in another illegal scam. In WWL-TV’s “Highway Robbery” investigative series about accidents staged for insurance fraud, Alfortish has been one focus of the sprawling federal investigation that has led to 33 people indicted and 15 guilty pleas.
Alfortish has not been charged in the case, or implicated by name, but he has been under scrutiny as a financer of expense medical treatment for plaintiffs in accident suits flagged as fraudulent. A medical financer pays a portion of an injured patient’s medical bills up front in exchange for a larger payout if that patient collects damages in a lawsuit.
Alfortish is also the fiancé of accident attorney Vanessa Motta, the lead attorney in at least five civil lawsuits that have been halted due to the ongoing criminal investigation. Motta also has not been charged.
In a defense of one 2018 accident lawsuit, insurance company attorneys claim in court filings that one of the injured passengers was on the phone with Alfortish one hour before the accident even happened.
Neither Alfortish nor his attorney could be reached for comment. The LHBPA elections run through March 30.