U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York
(716) 843-5700
June 22, 2015

Professional Hockey Player Pleads Guilty to Role in Gambling Ring

ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Nathan Paetsch, 28, of Spencerport, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to transmission of wagering information and structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. The charges carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, a fine of $750,000 or both.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Paetsch will be sentenced to probation, eight months home confinement, and. 400 hours of community service. The defendant will also forfeit $265,000 to include $22,725 in lieu of a 2011 BMW X5, $76,941 in lieu of his interest in his residence at 25 King Fisher Drive, Spencerport, and $67,197 in lieu of his interest in a residence at 218 Palmetto Dunes Circle, Naples, Florida.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Marangola, who is handling the case, stated that Paetsch’s conviction is related to his involvement in an illegal gambling business with Joseph Ruff, 32, his brother Mark Ruff, 40, both of Connecticut and Paul Borrelli, 66, of Rochester. The gambling operation involved sports betting through multiple offshore Internet gambling websites.

Specifically, Paetsch used wire communication facilities, including cellular telephones, to transmit in interstate and foreign commerce, bets, wagers and information which assisted in the placing of bets and wagers with the illegal Internet gambling business on sporting events and contests. The defendant’s involvement included transmitting information over cellular telephones to assist professional hockey players and others he recruited to place bets. Paetsch’s transmissions entitled him to receive money or credit as a result of bets and wagers. The information transmitted by the defendant crossed state lines as well as the international boundary of the United States. The information provided by Paetsch included usernames and passwords to accounts for bettors to place Internet wagers, odds on sporting events, credit limits and balances of bettors, making arrangements for the collection of cash payments from bettors in Canada, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida, and bank account information to conceal payments for gambling debts owed from wagers placed with the illegal gambling business.

With respect to the structuring charges, on multiple occasions between January 2010 and June 24, 2014, Paetsch withdrew and deposited transactions from accounts at financial institutions, including but not limited to First Niagara Bank, in amounts less than $10,000. The defendant was aware that as a domestic financial institution, banks are obligated by law to report transactions in excess of $10,000. At the time that he made the transfers, Paetsch intended to evade the reporting requirements because he knew the funds involved proceeds of the illegal Internet gambling business.

Mark Ruff and joseph Ruff were convicted and sentenced to nine years and 41 months in prison respectively. Paul Borrelli was also convicted and is awaiting sentencing on September 8, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. before Judge Geraci.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, under the direction of Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Office, Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Ciminelli, Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid, New York Field Division, Greece Police Department, under the direction of Chief Patrick Phelan, the Webster Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Joseph Rieger, and Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Sandra Doorley.

Sentencing for Paetsch is scheduled for August 31, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. before Judge Geraci.

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