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.
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