A man from New Jersey has admitted to impersonating a New England Patriots player in order to get "family and friends" Super Bowl rings. On Monday, 24-year-old Scott Spina said he sold three rings with Tom Brady's last name on them after impersonating a different Patriots player in order to acquire them, according to NBC News. One of the rings sold for over $300,000 at an auction.
Spina pled guilty to one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme, NBC News reported.
"By pretending to be a New England Patriots player, the defendant was able to get Super Bowl rings from the company that issued them," Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik M. Silber said. "But in offering the rings for sale, he was also selling their connection to Tom Brady — a story that simply did not hold up on close scrutiny."
"Unfortunately, in his effort to profit on Tom Brady's name, the defendant defrauded a number of people, including those at the ring company, the buyer of the rings, and those in the collectible market more broadly."
In 2017, Spina messaged a former Patriots player (referred to in court documents as T.J.") on Instagram asking if his Super Bowl LI ring was for sale. According to NBC News, Spina gave "T.J." a bad check in exchange for the ring. He also acquired a document for a website for the company that sells the Super Bowl rings, along with the player's username and password, giving him access to order "family and friend" rings (which are smaller than player rings) from the Super Bowl.
Spina sold that player ring for $63,000 to a California broker. He then told the ring company he wanted to buy rings with Brady's name engraved on the side, saying they were gifts for the "baby of quarterback Tom Brady." Spina convinced a memorabilia broker, identified as S.W. in court documents, that he knew Brady's nephews and said that they would sell him the rings.
The broker said he would pay Spina $81,500 for three rings, with an advance $6,500. But the broker eventually ended up backing out of the deal altogether after questioning Spina on if Brady had any nephews and why the geotags of the photos Spina had sent him were connected to New Jersey and not Massachusetts (where he claimed the nephews were located).
After the deal fell through, Spina instead sold the rings for $100,000 to an auction house in November of 2017. One ring was sold by the auction house for $337,219 in February of 2018.
Spina is scheduled to make his first appearance for the ring fraud case in court on Jan. 31.
In 2018, Spina -- in an entirely separate case -- was sentenced to 35 months in prison for not delivering high-end sneakers and items to customers/stealing credit card information.