Ben ‘Parlay’ Patz Turns Himself In, Charged With Threatening Athletes

  • Famous sports bettor Ben Patz has been charged with sending death threats to athletes and their families.
  • Patz was apprehended in Florida this morning and is due in court later today.
  • The threatening messages targeted 307 different accounts, primarily college and professional athletes.

TAMPA – Benjamin ‘Parlay’ Patz, a 23-year-old who earned fame for a number of successful high-money sports bets, has been charged with sending threatening messages to college and professional athletes, as well as their close friends and family.

Patz, whose nickname stems from his unusual success at placing winning parlay bets, allegedly sent threats of violence against players and their family members via an Instagram alias.

The alleged threats included promises to break into athletes’ homes to “dismember” them and “rape” and “murder” family members, including the daughter of an unnamed Baltimore Orioles player.

Several of these threats also included explicit racial epithets and slurs in addition to death threats. This could potentially reclassify the threats as a hate crime, which under Florida law can result in an aggravated sentence. The charges against Patz carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

One of the more disturbing prevailing motifs throughout these threats is the use of a dull knife to cut the athletes and their families as they sleep. The phrase “dull knife” is included in eight different messages cited in official documents of the criminal complaint.

Patz turned himself into Tampa authorities earlier this morning and is set to appear in court later this afternoon for an initial hearing. His legal representation declined requests for comment.

Evidence Against Patz

After subpoenaing Instagram to obtain the threatening messages in question, FBI Special Agent Daniel Nowak and fellow investigators found that the account they originated from was registered using an email and cell phone number registered to Patz.

Investigators then cross-referenced the messages with betting records obtained from William Hill sportsbook, which Patz was known to frequent. They found that the messages coincided with a number of bets Patz had placed.

For instance, on June 29, 2019, Patz placed a five-way parlay bet that included both the Cleveland Indians and the German national women’s soccer team.

The Indians lost to the Baltimore Orioles later that day, while Germany lost to Sweden in the Women’s World Cup Quarterfinals. Later that night, players for the Indians, Orioles, and the Swedish women’s national soccer team all received death threats from the aforementioned alias account.

Two more Instagram accounts were connected to Patz via emails registered in his name. These three accounts sent messages to 307 other accounts, with “nearly all the accounts receiving threatening or explicit messages,” according to court documents.

Disclaimer: these documents include graphic and disturbing language.

Investigators also found that six IP addresses connected to the alias accounts were also used by Patz’s primary Instagram account, which has since been deleted. Two of these IP addresses are registered in Napa, California, which corresponds to the area code for Patz’s phone number. Two more are registered in France, where Patz was enrolled at American University in Paris.

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A search warrant issued by a Florida judge allowed investigators to access the emails used to register the alias accounts, which contained a variety of information identifying Patz as the account owner, including PayPal statements, personal emails naming him, and more.

Patz’s main account also sent messages to players, although none included threats of violence. Instead, they referenced unsuccessful bets Patz had allegedly made and accosted players for their performance.

On December 21, 2019, the University of Arizona lost a basketball game to St. John’s University. Arizona had been favored by 12 points going into the matchup. After the game concluded, an Arizona college basketball player received this message from Patz’s Instagram:

“Your worthlessness costed me over $100,000 tonight. Sad!!”

The player, who will remain anonymous, responded, “Gambling is a dangerous habit. You’re addicted. Stop it. Get some help!”

Patz’s account sent similar messages to football players for the University of Southern California and the University of Oregon.

Last year, Patz won over a million dollars on bets made between October 27 and December 8.

In a December interview, Patz discussed his social media presence and referenced the fact that he had previously had a Twitter account suspended.

"Maybe it's good I couldn't get a Twitter account,” Patz said, “because I'd probably go back at people. At the end of the day though, my life has improved because of the techniques I've used that have won me all this and what anyone has to say about it doesn't really change that."

The implications of this response are obviously disturbing, given the charges he now faces. It remains to be seen what will happen to Patz’s winnings. William Hill could potentially claim that Patz’s messages constitute tampering and sue him to get their money back.

They could also look to sue for civil damages as a result of Patz’s public connection to the sportsbook.

The targeted athletes and their families could also sue for damages in civil court, and would likely have a strong case, given the direct connection between death threats and Patz’s bets.