New England Patriots

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) celebrates with tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime of the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

One of the world’s most notorious young professional gamblers has gotten himself into a heap of legal trouble, and it involves Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman.

The story of Benjamin “Parlay” Patz is a wild one. He’s a 23-year-old pro gambler who in 2015 made $1.1 million in a span of 50 days just betting on sports. He earned his nickname by making his fortune through parlays, grouping multiple bets together in hopes of hitting the jackpot. He did, several times over, putting himself on the map in less than two months.

But there was apparently a dark side to Patz’s gambling behavior. He’s being charged with federal crimes involving repeated threats made to professional athletes through burner accounts on Instagram. According to an affidavit from the U.S. court in the middle district of Florida, Patz used his burners to threaten several athletes and/or loved ones with murder, rape, and other violent acts. Patz turned himself in on Thursday.

The affidvait refers to athletes by their occupations and initials. But in the case of the Patriots, it’s easy to discern that among Patz’s targets were Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.

The case found that, after sharing a screenshot of a $10,000 bet on the Rams to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, Patz sent outrageously threatening direct messages to Edelman and Gronkowski after the Pats came out victorious.

Feb 4, 2019; Atlanta, GA: New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman speaks flanked by the Vince Lombardi trophy during Super Bowl LIII winning team press conference at Georgia World Congress Center. The Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to win an NFL record-tying sixth championship. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Feb 4, 2019; Atlanta, GA: New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman speaks flanked by the Vince Lombardi trophy during Super Bowl LIII winning team press conference at Georgia World Congress Center. The Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to win an NFL record-tying sixth championship. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

To Edelman, Patz allegedly said through the burner account @b82hs9: “ILL RAPE AND MURDER YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY.”

To Gronkowski, Patz allegedly said with the same burner: “I WILL BRUTALLY RAPE AND MURDER YOUR FAMILY” and “I WILL ENTER YOUR HOME WHILE YOU SLEEP AND SEVER YOUR NECK OPEN WITH A DULL KNIFE.”

Big-time yikes. Patz is accused of sending similarly violent threats via Instagram to over 300 other accounts, mostly pro athletes or people close to them. Many of these messages are contained in the document, if you can stomach reading one after the other.

Unfortunately for ol’ “Parlay Patz” here, he didn’t pair his burner accounts with burner email addresses. The investigation, headed by Special Agent Daniel Nowak of the FBI, connected three Instagram burners to two email addresses: benpatz1996@gmail.com and benpatz06@gmail.com. Not quite covering your tracks properly, if you’re aware of the seriousness of the messages you’re sending. Patz hid his threats safely from the public eye, but not from authorities.

Investigators also connected IP addresses with Patz’s travels to places like Paris and Napa, California. Seems like a pretty airtight case for Nowak’s crew. Patz is accused of violating federal law prohibiting people from using online communications to threaten injury against other people, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

We’ll see if Patz actually ends up getting close to that kind of punishment. But this should certainly be a lesson to people gambling out there that you can’t say these things to athletes because you lost your stupid bet, to an almost pathological extent, and expect to get away with it.

If you do intend to gamble and need advice, you can get it from a couple of well-adjusted adults in Joe Murray and Dan Lifshatz on the latest episode of the Over/Under 98.5 podcast.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.