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Sports gambler faces possible prison for threats to kill Rays players

Benjamin Tucker Patz, known as "Parlay Patz," sent Instagram threats to several Tampa Bay Rays players after a loss in 2019.
Image: Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays play the Toronto Blue Jays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on July 24.Douglas P. DeFelice / Getty Images file

A sports gambler who was said to have won more than $1 million in 2019 faces a possible prison term for threatening to kill baseball players, authorities said.

The man, Benjamin Tucker Patz, known as "Parlay Patz," pleaded guilty Wednesday to a count of transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce, federal prosecutors in Florida said.

Patz, 24, sent direct messages on Instagram to four Tampa Bay Rays players after the team lost to the Chicago White Sox on July 20, 2019, the U.S. attorney's office for Middle Florida said. He was charged last March.

"I will enter your home while you sleep" and "I will cut up your family," Patz wrote to one player, according to a criminal complaint. He threatened to behead other people.

Patz faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, prosecutors said, but prosecutors agreed not to oppose motions for downward adjustments as part of a plea deal. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

An attorney listed as representing Patz did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday evening.

The plea agreement revolves around the threats to the Rays players, and a White Sox player also received a threatening and racist message. An FBI affidavit ties Patz to many other online threats to athletes in 2019.

They include messages sent to players with the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals, the Kansas City Royals, the Cleveland Indians, the Baltimore Orioles, the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Diego Padres, according to court documents.

In addition to threatening violence, some of the messages included racial slurs, according to the criminal complaint.

Articles on gambling news websites claimed that Patz had made more than $1 million in sports betting in November and December 2019, according to the criminal complaint. A parlay is a type of bet.