Monday, February 6, 2023

Tom Brady Super Bowl rings scam: N.J. man sentenced to 3 years in prison for involvement in scheme

A New Jersey man was sentenced to three years in federal prison on Monday for posing as a former New England Patriots player in order to buy and sell family versions of 2016 Super Bowl rings while claiming they were gifts to Tom Brady’s family.

One of the rings he sold at auction went for more than $337,000, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Scott V. Spina Jr. from Roseland, N.J. began the scheme in 2017 when he purchased a Super Bowl LI ring from a former Patriots player. He scammed the player — identified only as T.J. — by paying for the ring with at least one bad check. Spina, 25, sold the ring to a well-known broker of championship rings in Orange County for $63,000 soon after.

According to a memorandum from Spina’s lawyer, T.J. was the one who reached out to Spina to sell his ring because he needed the money. They met through a business Spina started at age 15 in which he sold sneakers and sports memorabilia. 

The Department of Justice said that when he obtained the ring, Spina also received the information that allowed him to purchase Super Bowl rings that are offered only to family and friends of the Pats, which are slightly smaller than the player rings.

“Spina then called the Ring Company, fraudulently identified himself as [the former player only identified as T.J.], 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 court documents and the Department of Justice. 

“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 tried to sell the rings to the same Orange County man who purchased T.J.’s Super Bowl ring. He claimed that the three new rings had belonged to Brady’s nephews. The buyer was going to purchase them for $81,500, but then withdrew from the deal because he started to doubt Spina’s story.

According to the memorandum, Spina had already collected a $6,500 deposit.

Shortly after, in November 2017, Spina sold the three engraved rings to an auction house for $100,000, which was about three times what he originally paid. One of those rings was auctioned for $337,219 in February 2018.

On Feb. 1, 2022, Spina pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. This was not his first time committing a crime. Spina was released from prison in 2020 after serving a 35-month for an unrelated write fraud. 

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