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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

California Man Pleads Guilty To Threatening Tampa Bay Rays Players

Tampa, Florida – Benjamin Tucker Patz, a/k/a “Parlay Patz,” (24, Napa, CA) today pleaded guilty to transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, on July 20, 2019, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team lost a home game to the Chicago White Sox. That same day, four Rays’ players, as well as a player for the Chicago White Sox, received direct messages on Instagram from Patz in which he threatened to carry out acts of violence against them. The messages included the following string of text sent to one Tampa Bay 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.”

 

Patz sent the messages knowing that they would be viewed by the player and his family members as a true threat to injure the person of another.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is part of the Bureau’s Integrity in Sport and Gaming Initiative, which is designed to tackle illegal sports gambling and combat threats of influence from criminal enterprises. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.

 

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Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
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Updated March 10, 2021