A New York sports bettor known as “Parlay Patz” faces charges for threatening athletes who have the ability to impact his bets.
The criminal complaint, which was filed Feb. 24 in Florida by FBI Special Agent Daniel Nowak, alleges that Benjamin Tucker Patz used anonymous social media accounts to threaten NFL, MLB, college basketball and college football players, as well as their friends and families. The Instagram threats occurred in 2019, including multiple “beheading” threats and racial slurs.
According to ESPN, Patz has been charged with transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce, and could face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
“His substantial and persistent online sports wagering suggests that Patz may have threated athletes who played in games on which he had unsuccessfully wagered and lost money,” Nowak said in the affidavit. “Or that he may have tried to influence the outcome of upcoming sports events on which he had wagered.”
The first threats detailed in the criminal complaint were sent to a Pepperdine University basketball player on March 9, 2019, from an account that has allegedly been linked to Patz. The four Instagram direct messages were “Your throat will be severed open with a dull knife,” “Your entire family will be beheaded and burned alive,” “I will enter your home as you sleep and kill you,” and “Watch your back, you’re a dead man walking.”
A subpoena was issued in August 2019 for three Instagram display names that had been making threats. After the subpoena and a search warrant, Nowak said that the Instagram accounts were registered with an email address linked to Patz.
The complaint alleges that betting records from bookmaker William Hill showed Patz bet on the Cleveland Indians on July 25, 2019. Less than an hour before the first pitch against the Kansas City Royals, Patz allegedly sent a member of the Royals two Instagram direct messages, saying “I will cut open the throat of your baby,” and “You will die.”
According to ESPN, U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Amy Filjones said Patz was charged in the Middle District of Florida because he made threats to Tampa Bay Rays players after they lost a home game to the Chicago White Sox.
Patz, who allegedly threatened about 300 accounts, gained notoriety in late 2019, including the Action Network detailing the money he was winning with high-stakes parlay bets.