Federal prosecutors today filed fraud charges against a New Jersey man who allegedly posed as a former player for the New England Patriots, which allowed him to purchase family versions of the team’s 2016 Super Bowl championship ring – supposedly as gifts to relatives of quarterback Tom Brady – one of which was sold at auction for more than $337,000.
Scott V. Spina Jr., 24, of Roseland, New Jersey, was charged today with one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in the scheme that allowed him to purchase three Super Bowl rings engraved with the name “Brady” on them and offer them for sale with the false claim that Tom Brady had given the rings to relatives.
In a plea agreement filed today in United States District Court, Spina agreed to plead guilty to the five felony offenses.
Court documents detail the fraudulent conduct that started in 2017 when Spina purchased a Super Bowl LI ring awarded to a Patriots player who subsequently left the team. Spina, who bilked the former player by paying for the ring with at least one bad check, sold the ring soon after for $63,000 to a well-known broker of championship rings.
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 entered into an agreement with the Orange County man who purchased the player’s Super Bowl ring to sell him the three family rings that Spina now claimed Brady had given to his nephews. 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.
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.
Spina has agreed to make his first appearance in this case in federal court in Los Angeles on January 31.
Once he formally enters the guilty pleas, Spina will face a statutory maximum penalty of 92 years in federal prison, but the actual sentence will likely be substantially less once a federal judge considers the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
As part of the plea agreement, Spina agreed to pay restitution to the former Patriots player who sold his Super Bowl ring and other memorabilia.
The FBI’s Art Crime Team investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Erik M. Silber of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section is prosecuting this case.