Grand Rapids Griffins player Nathan Paetsch has been sentenced for being part of an illegal sports betting business that took wagers from other players American Hockey League players.
Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. has sentenced Paetsch on Friday to eight months of home confinement, 400 hours of community service and a $265,000 forfeiture.
Paetsch, who has accepted a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in June, has admitted providing fellow gamblers with current odds on sporting events, making arrangements to collect debts, and keeping bettors informed of their credit limits and balances. Paetsch also acknowledged receiving cash or credit from his bookies when friends and other players placed bets with the online service.
In addition, he also confessed structuring a bank transaction to evade reporting requirements.
David Morabito, Paetsch’s lawyer, said that his client’s punishment was not nearly as severe “because the government understood his conduct was minimal compared to the others involved.”
Sentencing will be Aug. 31 for the Spencerport resident but he will be allowed to travel with his AHL team and play in games.
Paetsch was caught up in last year’s bust of an illegal sports betting operation being run out of a restaurant in Charlotte, New York that counted Paetsch’s former Buffalo Sabres teammate Thomas Vanek as a betting client.
Vanek reportedly lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly millions, because of his wagering on pro football but he is not expected to be charged with a crime.
Morabito said Paetsch had no involvement with Vanek’s betting. He also said that in more than 44,000 pages of documents, there was never evidence of hockey players betting on hockey.
Paetsch has already paid nearly $165,000 of his forfeiture through equity in his Spencerport home, a cottage in Florida, and a BMW. Paetsch has also started community service, speaking to high school and college hockey players and providing warnings about what to expect if they make the professional ranks.