Federal prosecutors have filed fraud charges against a New Jersey man who they say posed as a former player for the New England Patriots, bought family versions of the team’s 2016 Super Bowl ring he claimed had ties to Tom Brady–and sold one of them for more than $337,000.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Southern California says Scott V. Spina Jr., 24, of Roseland, New Jersey, was charged with one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors say he orchestrated a 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 Monday in United States District Court, Spina agreed to plead guilty to the five felony offenses.
According to court documents, Spina purchased a Super Bowl LI ring in 2017 that had been 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, then sold it for $63,000 to a broker of championship rings.
Prosecutors say when Spina obtained that ring from the player, he also received information that former players were allowed 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 Monday. “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.”
Investigators say Spina entered into an agreement with the Southern California man who purchased the player’s original Super Bowl 51 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 for $100,000. In February 2018, one of the family rings sold through Goldin Auctions for $337,219.
“Goldin auctions rescinded the transaction in 2020 and refunded the complete purchase price to the winning bidder when it learned of potential allegations around the acquisition of the ring,” the company stated Tuesday. ” We only learned today with the recent news the exact details of the rings’ history.”
Josten’s, which made the rings, had provided a letter of authenticity and appraisal for Brady, although neither the quarterback nor his family were involved in the transaction.
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 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.