A high-stakes sports bettor living in California has agreed to a plea deal for sending menacing messages over Instagram to Major League Baseball players in 2019.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that Benjamin Tucker Patz, who was known widely as “Parlay Patz,” faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to “transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce.”
The 24-year-old was prominently featured by some sports gambling websites as having success in sports betting prior to the allegations about his threats to baseball players.
The plea agreement states that on July 20, 2019, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team lost a home game to the Chicago White Sox. That same day, four of the Rays’ players and one for the Chicago White Sox received direct messages on Instagram from Patz. The gambler didn’t make a tangible plan to murder athletes, but the brutal threats were enough for an indictment.
It’s notable that the DOJ made a point in its news release to list some of the threats, which included:
- “I will sever your neck open you pathetic c**tbag”
- “I will enter your home while you sleep”
- “And sever your neck open”
- “I will kill your entire family”
- “Everyone you love will soon cease”
- “I will cut up your family” and “Dismember the[m] alive.”
Patz was arrested in March 2020.
The threats to the MLB players came despite Patz reportedly winning more than $1 million betting on parlays in 2019. It’s unclear how much he lost overall. He reportedly sent threats to other teams and players, including the New England Patriots after Super Bowl LIII, but he only admitted to the threats against the MLB players.
A sentencing date hasn’t been announced. It’s unclear if Patz could avoid prison and receive probation. He will be required to spend three years on supervised release upon release from a prison sentence, if imposed.
The plea agreement didn’t mention any sort of mandatory counseling for problem gambling.
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