Suit: Racetrack owes deceased man's estate winnings

By Jim Boyle | Nov 14, 2014

A Bucks County casino and racetrack owes the estate of a Texas man more than $100,000 in winnings after it allegedly made payment to the deceased man's employee who had no authority to access the account, according to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The estate of Donald Benge, overseen by his son, Michael, seeks full repayment for Parx Casino and Racetrack of the $117,858 credited to Benge's account in 2013 from winning bets he made in 2011. Parx has also been accused of negligence for issuing a check for that amount to a horse trainer in April 2013 without asking for the complete paperwork proving he had rights to collect the money.

According to the complaint, Benge, a resident of Waxahachie, Texas, was a big fan of horse racing and purchased, trained and raced several horses in the late 2000s, including a horse at Parx's stables.

As part of the agreement to house his horse, Benge set up an account with Parx to pay for rent, maintenance and storage fees, as well as receive deposits from race winnings.

On April 19, 2013, Parx credited Benge's account with winnings from a race
held on July 16, 2011, which increased the account balance to at least $117,858. According to the claim, the same day, Parx gave a check in the amount of $117,858, made payable to the Estate of Don Benge, to Clark Hanna, a trainer employed by Benge, who held himself out to be the estate's personal representative and presented Parx with a certificate of Benge's death.

According to the complaint, Hanna never had authorization to represent the estate, nor is he a beneficiary. Starting in March 2014, Benge's estate demanded payment for the $117,858, but Parx has refused, saying it already made the payment to Hanna. The complaint says that representatives from Parx advised the estate to go after Hanna and the bank he deposited the check.

Benge's estate holds Parx negligent and in breach of contract for allegedly failing to protect the funds in Benge's account and accepting at face value Hanna's claim to represent the estate without checking for the proper paperwork.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller in Philadelphia.

The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-06540.

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