Man who pretended to be NFL player jailed over Tom Brady Super Bowl ring fraud

A man who ordered Super Bowl rings by claiming they were gifts for Tom Brady's child has been jailed, prosecutors said.

Scott Spina Jr, 25, lied about his identity and sold the rings to an auction house for $100,000 (£85,357) in 2017.

In February, he pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

According to court documents, the scheme started in September 2017, when Spina bought a Super Bowl 51 ring from a New England Patriots player who was no longer with the team.

The player is referred to only as TJ.

In the deal, Spina was sent a document with the details of a company that sells rings, along with the player's username and password.

The man, who is from New Jersey, posted as TJ and ordered three "family and friends" Super Bowl rings by falsely saying they were gifts for Brady's baby - the quarterback did not have a baby at the time.

The family versions are slightly smaller than the players' rings, but otherwise similar.

Spina had the name Brady engraved on each ring.

According to court documents, Spina tried to sell the rings to a dealer in California, but the deal fell through, and he sold them to an auction house for $100,000, with one of the rings being auctioned for $337,219 (£287,828).

Spina's lawyers did not immediately reply to a request for comment Monday night but in a court document, his representation argued that Spina was 19 at the time, and he had already committed to turning his life around after a previous prison term for fraud.

"I am no longer that young, reckless, and selfish person," Spina wrote in a letter to US District Judge David Carter accompanying the sentencing memorandum.

The fraud began a few months after Brady helped the Patriots win Super Bowl 51 in a tense match against the Atlanta Falcons.

The win in 2017 was Brady's fifth, and he has since won two more Super Bowls - in 2019 with the Patriots and in 2021 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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As well as three years in jail, Spina has been ordered to pay $63,000 (£53,777) in restitution to the unnamed player, with the US attorney's office stating that he swindled TJ by paying him with at least one bad cheque.

In 2018, Spina was sentenced to 35 months in prison for failing to deliver high-end sneakers and other items to customers who bought them and for stealing his customers' credit card information, according to officials.