A sports gambler pleaded guilty on Wednesday to threatening to kill four Tampa Bay Rays players via Instagram direct messages after a loss in 2019, authorities said via NBC News.
Benjamin Tucker Patz is a 24-year-old gambler known as "Parlay Patz" for reportedly winning more than $1.1 million via parlays. He pleaded guilty to transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He was initially charged one year ago.
Gambler threatens Rays after 2019 loss
Patz sent direct messages on Instagram to four Rays players after a loss to the Chicago White Sox on July 20, 2019, the U.S. District Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida said. The White Sox won in Tampa, 2-1, on runs in the top of the ninth and 11th innings.
A White Sox player also received a threatening direct message from Patz, the DA's office said. The threats included racial slurs and a word commonly considered a sexist slur. One string of messages to a Rays player included the following, per the DA's release (content warning: specific threats):
"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."
He told one player "0-5 against the Chicago White Sox isn't going to cut it" and threatened that "because of your sins" Patz would behead him and his family, authorities said. Authorities wrote in the release that Patz "sent the messages knowing that they would be viewed by the player and his family members as a true threat to injure the person of another."
A sentencing date has not been set. Patz is known to reside in Napa, California, and New York. He gained notoriety in the betting world for winning $1.1 million on parlays, considered the gambling world's version of the lottery, over a span of 50 days in 2019, The Action Network reported that December.
Patz threatened other athletes, FBI says
Patz was also sending threatening messages to athletes throughout 2019, per an FBI affidavit. Officials said he lost $10,000 betting on the Los Angeles Rams to win Super Bowl LIII and afterward sent message to two New England Patriots players.
He threatened to "brutally rape and murder your family" and enter their home while they were sleeping to "sever your neck open with a dull knife," investigators said.
The FBI's report included similar threats made against players for the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals. Certain family members also received threats, authorities said.
He also sent two Instagram DMs with similar threats to a Swedish women's national soccer team player after the team defeated Germany, 2-1, in the FIFA women's World Cup quarterfinal, authorities said.
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