Sports bettor sentenced to 6 months house arrest for threatening to kill Rays players and their families

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BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 27:  Tampa Bay Rays helmet and pads in the dug out during a game one of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles on June 27, 2014 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Rays won 5-2.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Some Rays players got some truly awful messages after a loss. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

A sports bettor has been sentenced to six months of home detention and 36 months of probation for a series of death threats against players on the Tampa Bay Rays, ESPN's David Purdum reports.

Benjamin Patz, 24, pleaded guilty in March to one count of transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce. His sentence will reportedly include required participation in a mental health treatment program and a ban from "gambling, wagering, or other activities, either online or in person."

Patz had recently gained fame in the sports gambling world for winning $1.1 million via a series of parlays, picking up the nickname "Parlay Patz." That run of luck, though, apparently came with a dark side.

Benjamin Patz's death threats were beyond the pale

Patz was accused by the Justice Department of sending graphic and threatening messages to four Rays players via Instagram after a loss on July 20, 2019.

The messages allegedly included the following (warning, the following quotes contain extremely graphic language):

  • “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.”

That was apparently not the extent of Patz's online activity. The Justice Department's original criminal complaint claimed Patz targeted 307 social media accounts, some including accounts belonging to players on the New England Patriots, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres and Pepperdine men's basketball team.

Some of those alleged threats went even further, with threats of rape and murder against an entire family, promises of slowly cutting a neck with a dull knife and at least one racial slur.

Patz apologized for the heinous messages in court in a statement to ESPN:

"In open court this morning, Mr. Patz expressed remorse for his actions and the hurt he caused and apologized to anyone who received one of his messages or was otherwise adversely affected by them," David Weisbrod, attorney for Patz, told ESPN in a statement. "He is also grateful for the court's decision to place him on probation. Other than that, there will be no other comments."

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