AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker
Monday, June 22, 2015|7:36 p.m.
BUFFALO, N.Y.– An expert hockey gamer pleaded guilty Monday to being part of an illegal sports wagering company that took wagers from other gamers.
Under a contract with federal district attorneys, Nathan Paetsch will be sentenced to probation, 400 hours of local service and eight months of home confinement. He likewise has to surrender $265,000.
Paetsch, 32, played the last three periods in the American Hockey League. Prior to that, he invested part of 5 seasons with the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres, through 2010.
He was included with a gambling operation that took bets through overseas web sites, authorities said, putting wagers himself and getting credit when he recruited fellow gamers and others to wager.
2 principals of the operation, bros Mark and Joseph Ruff, of Connecticut, were sentenced this year to 9 years and just under 3 1/2 years in prison, respectively, after pleading guilty to unlawful gambling and other charges. A third guy, Paul Borrelli, of Rochester, is waiting for sentencing.
Paetsch’s attorney stated the player’s participation in business was minimal, and neither he nor the hockey gamers he introduced to the operation ever bank on hockey.
“With all the players, it was truly a group of pals having a good time gambling amongst themselves,” lawyer David Morabito stated. “But they didn’t understand that the individuals they were wagering with were a lot more significant individuals that were associated with a major gambling operation.”
Paetsch’s written agreement with the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, ends at the end of this year and the two sides are going over an extension, Red Wings assistant basic manager Ryan Martin said. The conviction will certainly not affect talks with the defenseman, he said.
“Nathan’s done a terrific task there helping us to develop our younger gamers for the Detroit Red Wings,” Martin stated. “He’s a veteran that played in the NHL. He’s got an excellent dedication to off-ice conditioning. He’s a great role model for those players in terms of being a professional hockey player.”
The house confinement and community service consisted of in the plea contract are not anticipated to disrupt his ability to play, Martin stated.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul stated Paetsch offered usernames and passwords for gamblers to put Web wagers and made plans for the collection of payments from gamblers in Canada, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida. He would evade bank reporting requirements by remaining deals to under $10,000, district attorneys said.
The charges to which Paetsch pleaded guilty, transmission of wagering info and structuring transactions to avert reporting requirements, bring an optimal potential penalty of 7 years in jail.
Although the plea contract requires Paetsch to forfeit $265,000 in lieu of a 2011 BMW and his interests in two homes, in Spencerport and Naples, Florida, the quantity that he won gambling was much less, Morabito stated, approximating it at around $26,000.
Morabito stated Paetsch plans to say sorry to his family, friends and teammates at his sentencing, arranged for Aug. 31 in federal court in Rochester.