A New Jersey man newly released from a federal prison term for credit-card fraud has agreed to plead guilty to charges related to the sale of forged Tom Brady Patriots Super Bowl rings, the US Attorney's office in Los Angeles reports.
Scott Spina Jr. of New Jersey potentially faces up to 92 years in federal prison, although his actual sentence will likely be less than that, the US Attorney's office says.
According to prosecutors, in 2017, Spina, then just 20, managed to convince an unnamed member of the Patriots team to sell his actual Super Bowl ring. Prosecutors did not identify the player, except to say that "he subsequently left the team" after the win over Atlanta.
When Spina obtained the player ring, he also received the information that allowed the former player to purchase Super Bowl rings for family and friends that are slightly smaller than the player rings. "Spina then called the Ring Company, fraudulently identified himself as [the former player], and started ordering three family and friend Super Bowl LI rings with the name 'Brady' engraved on each one, which he falsely represented were gifts for the baby of quarterback Tom Brady," according to the criminal information filed today. "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."
Spina then found a mark in Orange County, CA to buy the rings:
After agreeing to buy the three rings for $81,500 - nearly three times what Spina paid for the rings - the buyer started to believe that Brady did not have nephews, and he tried to withdraw from the deal. The same day that the buyer tried to back out, and the same day that Spina actually received the rings in November 2017, Spina immediately sold them to an auction house for $100,000. During an auction in February 2018, one of the family rings was sold for $337,219.
The US Attorney's office adds:
In his plea agreement, Spina admitted that he defrauded the Orange County ring broker when he falsely claimed that the rings "were ordered for Tom Brady directly from [the Ring Company] for select family members." Spina also admitted that he defrauded this victim in relation to three wire transfers for the deposit on the family rings. Spina further admitted he committed identity theft when he posed as the former Patriot to purchase the rings.
So how was a nascent New Jersey nudnik even talking to a member of the Super Bowl LI Patriots to begin with? As a teen still in high school, Spina started a high-end sneaker business whose customer list grew to include professional athletes.
That venture ended in 2018, though, when Spina got 35 months in federal prison for taking customers' money and credit-card info and then not delivering sneakers but using their digits to make purchases for himself - to the tune of $550,000.
Spina walked out of prison on March 26 of this year.