Breaking News
More () »

Tampa Bay and Sarasota's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Tampa Bay and Sarasota, FL | WTSP.com

'I will kill your entire family': Sports bettor pleads guilty to threatening Rays players

His sentencing date has not yet been set.
Credit: AP
Members of the Tampa Bay Rays take batting practice at Tropicana Field before a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, July 24, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A sports bettor has pleaded guilty to threatening players on the Tampa Bay Rays.

The U.S. Department of Justice says 24-year-old Benjamin Tucker Patz, of Napa, California, entered a guilty plea Wednesday on a charge of transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce. 

Patz's sentencing has not yet been scheduled. But, a copy of his plea agreement laid out the maximum penalties he could technically face:

  • Up to five years in federal prison
  • An up to $250,000 fine
  • Up to 3 years of supervised release
  • A special assessment of $100

Prosecutors say Patz used Instagram to send threatening direct messages to four Rays players and one White Sox player after Tampa Bay lost a home game to Chicago 2-1 on July 20, 2019.

According to the DOJ, the following string of messages was sent to one of the Rays players:

  • “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.”

The case was investigated by the FBI.

When the DOJ first announced charges against Patz in 2020, investigators said he had recently won more than $1 million by wagering on sporting events.

What other people are reading right now:

►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app

Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter