A Las Vegas man sent threats, including suspicious powder, to the Schenectady-based state Gaming Commission over a 40-year-old grudge, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
On the envelopes that contained the suspicious, but ultimately harmless, powder, he also placed his own name and apparent return address, officials said.
Brent Carter, 72, who was charged with mailing the envelopes, was arraigned via video remotely from Las Vegas and released with conditions pending trial.
He made phone threats and sent four separate mailings of suspicious powder between April 2019 and this past January, prosecutors said.
Carter had previously interacted with the New York State Gaming Commission in 1976, the federal criminal complaint reads. The commission had temporarily suspended him from competing in horse racing for approximately one month so it could investigate allegations of cheating.
The state gaming commission ultimately cleared Carter that same year and reinstated his license, the complaint reads.
“However, since that time, over the course of approximately 40 years, Carter has contacted employees of the NYSGC claiming that the NYSGC denied him a career in horse racing,” the complaint reads.
The commission responded by providing Carter with letters indicating Carter was not suspended from horse racing, according to the complaint.
The complaint then specifically outlined “numerous” phone calls made by Carter between October 2017 and November 2018 to commission employees where he primarily left voicemails.
In one, he allegedly referred to the Las Vegas mass shooting from 2017, saying “well it looks like the shooter in Las Vegas missed you guys. As long as you’re not available, you should be made permanently not available,” according to the complaint.
The first letter with powder arrived in Schenectady on April 15, 2019, the complaint reads. The envelope, sent four days earlier, had no return address, but had the words “CRITICAL EVIDENCE” on it and contained a mixture of substances that included birdseed, dirt, a paperclip and hair, the complaint reads.
The next came June 17, 2019. This one had Carter’s name and a Las Vegas return address. It contained a white powdery substance determined to be sugar, according to the complaint. The third arrived four days later, had the same name and return address and contained drywall.
Investigators met with Carter in October 2020 at his home regarding the three envelopes and threats. He identified the handwriting as his and that he recalled sending them because “he wanted a hearing to clear up his horse racing suspension, that he has nightmares because he cannot find his horses, and that the NYSGC would not respond to Carter regarding his suspension,” the complaint reads.
When told that mailing the envelopes with substances treated as hazardous materials constituted a federal crime with penalties that included jail and fines, the complaint quoted Carter as responding, “I guess in my mind I didn’t think this out but when I sent stuff, the garbage or junk, whatever, I sent, I guess it was revenge or trying to slow down their thinking.”
Carter was not charged then. But, despite the warnings given in that interview, Carter allegedly sent a fourth envelope that arrived Jan. 28 of this year, with his name and the same return address containing more white powder. This substance turned out to be talcum powder, the complaint reads.
Carter was arraigned on the charge last week and released on conditions pending trial.