According to a press release by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, the defendant, 24-year-old Scott Spina Jr. of Roseland, New Jersey, allegedly posed as a former player for the New England Patriots, Brady’s longtime former team.
Spina used that claim to purchase “family versions” of the Patriots’ 2016 Super Bowl championship ring, which were pitched as gifts to Brady’s relatives.
Prosecutors said Spina purchased three Super Bowl rings engraved with the name “Brady” on them and then offered them for sale with the false claim that the legendary quarterback had given the rings to relatives.
The scheme started in 2017 when Spina purchased a Super Bowl LI championship ring given to a Patriots player who later left the team.
Spina bilked the former player, prosecutors said, by paying for the ring with at least one bad check. He then sold it to a broker of such jewelry for $63,000.
Through the transaction with Brady’s former teammate, Spina learned that the former player could purchase Super Bowl rings for family and friends that are slightly smaller than the player rings.
“Spina then contacted the ring-maker, falsely identified himself as the player he had purchased the Super Bowl LI ring from, and ordered three “family and friend” rings, all engraved with “Brady.”
Spina claimed the rings would be gifts for Brady’s baby, prosecutors said.
“The rings were at no time authorized by Tom Brady. Defendant Spina intended to obtain the three rings by fraud and to sell them at a substantial profit,” prosecutors asserted.
Spina apparently had a deal to sell the rings to a California buyer, for $81,500, roughly triple what he paid. Yet his story changed. He told the buyer they were for Brady’s nephews.
The prospective buyer got suspicious, and cold feet, and pulled out of the deal.
Yet Spina found another mark.
Prosecutors said he sold the rings to an auction house for $100,000.
At an auction in February 2018, one of the rings fetched $337,219.
Spina was charged with one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft, all felonies.
Spina is expected to appear in federal court in Los Angeles on Jan. 31 and plead guilty.
He faces a maximum of 92 years in prison. But prosecutors said his actual sentence will likely be substantially less, after the judge factors in the sentencing guidelines.
Spina’s plea deal also calls for him to pay restitution to the unidentified former Patriots player who sold his Super Bowl ring and other memorabilia to Spina.
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