A Buffalo man allegedly faked being abducted and robbed in order to keep from paying a $50,000 debt from a Super Bowl gambling game, state police said.
Robert A. Brandel, 60, was arrested for scheme to defraud in the first degree, a felony, and falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, a misdemeanor, according to a New York State Police press release Thursday.
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Troopers responded to a call Wednesday about a man found tied up in a vehicle in a parking lot. Authorities said they found Brandel with a rope that was tied around his neck and the car's headrest, and with his hands and ankles bound with duct tape.
Brandel claimed that on Monday he picked up two men involved with him in a Super Bowl bet who brandished a pistol and took $16,000 cash from him. He claimed the men kept him in the vehicle and drove around with him for two days against his will.
He claimed the $16,000 was won through a game of Super Bowl squares, a popular game of chance run in workplaces and bars around the country every year. Winners are determined by the Super Bowl score.
Upon further investigation, state police came to believe Brandel lied about the abduction because he couldn't make the payments on his Super Bowl gambling debt.
Brandel was allegedly running a $50,000-payout Super Bowl pool in which he made up names on some of the squares in order to increase his chances of winning and to take most of the prize money, according to police.
It is unclear how much he owed but police say he "was short for most of the $50,000."
Brandel is to appear in court in March in the town of Newfane in Niagara County. It is unclear whether he has legal representation at this time.
Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.