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College athletes allegedly targeted with threats from bettor charged in federal court

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LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 23: The betting line for Game One of the Stanley Cup Final shows the Vegas Golden Knights favored over the Washington Capitals at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on May 23, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two teams will meet in Game One of the series in Las Vegas on May 28. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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A bettor has been charged in federal court with threatening professional and collegiate athletes, including men’s basketball players, via social media over lost wagers.

Benjamin “Parlay Patz” Patz is facing a charge of transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce in Florida, according to court documents.

Patz is accused of using various social media social accounts to make violent threats against athletes who may have “played in games on which he had unsuccessfully wagered and lost money - or that he may have tried to influence the outcome of upcoming sporting events on which he wagered,” according to authorities.

In one instance, he sent Instagram direct messages to a Pepperdine player that stated, “Your throat will be severed open with a dull knife, “Your entire family will be beheaded and burned alive, “I will enter your home as you sleep and kill you” and “Watch your back, you’re a dead man walking,” according to authorities.

In late 2019, Patz, according to court documents, sent a message to a player at Arizona that said, “Your worthlessness costed me over 100,000$ tonight! Sad!!” The player responded, “Gambling is a dangerous habit. You’re addicted. Stop it. Get some help!”

Patz also sent threatening messages, including using racist language, to players and significant others of multiple MLB teams, court documents say. Patz also allegedly messaged threats to New England Patriots players after the Super Bowl in 2019. Patz is accused of threatening various other professional and collegiate athletes as well.

The 23-year-old college student has some notoriety in online betting circles as it had been reported that he had claimed to have won more than $1.1 million in bets over a few weeks in 2019, according to authorities. He faces up to five years in prison.