A New Jersey man who posed as a former New England Patriots player so he could try to sell an Orange County broker Super Bowl rings he falsely claimed were gifts to Tom Brady’s family was sentenced on Monday, Aug. 29, to three years in prison.

Scott Spina Jr., now 25, was also ordered to pay $63,000 in restitution to the unnamed former Patriots player he posed as in order to obtain “family versions” of the 2017 Super Bowl championship rings, one of which sold at auction for more than $337,000, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.

According to a sentencing memo filed by his defense attorney, Spina had been buying and selling sneakers and sports memorabilia since he was 15, often putting him in contact with high school and college athletes, some who became professional players.

In 2017, Spina, then 19, bought a Patriots’ Super Bowl championship ring from a former player who had left the team. The rings for that year’s team were adorned with five Lombardi trophies representing the number of championships the team had won at the time and was engraved with “Greatest Comeback Ever,” a reference to the team overcoming a 28-3 deficit in the Super Bowl.

Spina paid the player with at least one bad check, according to prosecutors. Spina sold that ring for $63,000 to a well-known buyer and seller of championship rings who lives in Orange County, according to his plea deal.

Along with the ring itself, the former Patriots player later told federal investigators that he gave Spina all the paperwork the player had received in connection to the ring, which happened to include information that allowed players to order from the manufacturer smaller Super Bowl rings for their family members and friends.

Posing as the former Patriots player, Spina ordered three “family-and-friends” championship rings from the manufacturer, each engraved with the name “Brady.” He reportedly claimed to employees at the manufacturer that the rings were meant to be gifts for “the baby of quarterback Tom Brady,” prosecutors said.

The same Orange County buyer agreed to also buy the three “family-and-friends” championship rings that Spina had ordered. Spina had falsely told the buyer that Brady bought those three rings for three nephews, and that the nephews had agreed to sell them to Spina.

The Orange County buyer quickly had second thoughts after his research indicated that Brady didn’t actually have any nephews, according to prosecutors.

Once the Orange County buyer backed out of the deal, Spina sold the “friends-and-family” rings to an auction house for $100,000, more than three times what he paid to buy them from the manufacturer.

According to the memo written by Spina’s attorney, within days of the auction house putting the three rings up for sale, Brady’s representatives contacted the company and notified them that the rings had no connection to Brady.

The auction house agreed to make clear in is advertising that the rings had no connection to Brady, the defense attorney wrote. One of the rings still sold at auction for $337,219. According to the defense attorney, the auction company “retained possession” of the other two “family” rings.

In July 2018, Spina was sentenced to 35 months in federal prison for an apparently unrelated wire fraud case in New Jersey, according to court filings. He was released to a halfway house in November 2020, and later began supervised release.

In February, Spina pleaded guilty in a Santa Ana federal court to felony counts of mail and wire fraud, as well as aggravated identity theft related to the Super Bowl rings fraud.

Spina’s defense attorney, Thomas Ambrosio, wrote in his sentencing brief that the case was “an example of how the rich and famous in this country are treated differently from the average person. …

“If this case did not have a connection to Tom Brady, the former quarterback for the New England Patriots, it is almost certain there would not have been an investigation by law enforcement,” Ambrosio wrote.

In his own letter to the federal judge, Spina wrote that his life has “changed drastically” since he was sent to prison for the New Jersey case. Spina told the judge that he is “no longer that young, reckless and selfish person. … Incarceration has changed my life regarding my perspective in valuing the smallest things in this world and understanding how every action has a consequence.”

https://www.presstelegram.com/2022/08/29/man-gets-prison-for-posing-as-tom-brady-teammate-to-try-and-sell-oc-broker-super-bowl-rings/