Scott Spina Jr. and his girlfriend boarded their flight house to New Jersey from Georgia with some invaluable baggage: a championship ring from Super Bowl LI.
The ring, made from white gold molded into the form of a soccer and emblazoned with 283 diamonds, was engraved with the phrases “GREATEST COMEBACK EVER,” a nod to the New England Patriots’ historic 25-point comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Spina had simply written a test to a former Patriots participant for the ring in September 2017. In all, the deal can be price $32,000, nevertheless it was cash Spina knew he didn’t have.
After federal investigators uncovered the scheme, Spina pleaded responsible in February to 1 depend of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one depend of aggravated id theft. On Monday, U.S. District Choose David O. Carter sentenced Spina, 25, to 3 years in jail and ordered him to pay $63,000 in restitution to the previous Patriots participant.
The previous participant, recognized in court docket data solely as “T.J.,” was struggling together with his skilled soccer profession when he offered the ring to Spina.
Drafted out of Florida State College in 2015, the offensive lineman was sidelined by a knee damage and didn’t play a single snap in his second season, watching because the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl in 2017. He was launched from the crew that April.
With out an NFL contract, T.J. was touring backwards and forwards between his house in Jesup, Ga., and Boston, court docket paperwork stated. He had tried to promote the Super Bowl ring to a pawn store in Jesup however was turned down.
Then, in late September 2017, Spina despatched T.J. a message on Instagram in regards to the ring, saying he was shut pals with rapper Fats Joe and offered sneakers to celebrities.
The following day, Spina flew to Georgia and met T.J. outdoors a fuel station in Jesup. Spina wrote the unhealthy test, and T.J. handed over his Super Bowl ring, nonetheless inside its black field, together with rings from his school soccer years.
Spina took not solely T.J.’s ring but in addition his id. As a part of the deal, prosecutors wrote in a plea settlement, he obtained the participant’s login credentials for the ring producer and went on to purchase three extra Super Bowl rings, posing as the previous Patriot.
“This is ‘T.J.’ — I’m gonna place a couple of ring orders today,” he stated over the cellphone with the ring manufacturing firm. “I want to get, uh, a quarterback a present for his baby.”
“What’s the, the um, quarterback last name that you’re looking to order it for?” the corporate worker stated.
“Brady,” Spina stated, spelling it out to verify, “B-R-A-D-Y.”
Spina then made a cope with a widely known collector of championship rings in Orange County, sending pictures of the three rings and claiming they had been ordered by T.J. as presents for Brady’s nephews.
The Orange County man agreed to pay $81,000 for the three rings and wired $6,500 to Spina as a deposit with the title, “Tom Brady Family 2016 New England Patriots Super Bowl Rings!”
However the collector did some analysis and came upon Brady didn’t have any nephews. In November 2017, he requested Spina to cancel the deal.
That very same day, Spina, nonetheless decided to promote the rings, turned to an public sale home, the place he offered the three rings for $100,000, claiming that Brady had approved the unique buy of the rings.
One of many rings can be auctioned off for greater than $300,000.
When T.J. realized his test from Spina had bounced, he tried messaging Spina however bought no response. He gave up after studying Spina had been arrested and was in jail on different prices.
Authorities didn’t say who tipped off federal investigators about Spina’s scheme. By December, Spina was charged in in federal court docket in California.
Spina’s protection lawyer, Thomas Ambrosio, stated this 12 months that his consumer accepted duty for what he did and declined to remark additional.