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Ex-Sabre Nathan Paetsch sentenced for role in gambling operation

Nathan Paetsch had a sideline while he was with the Buffalo Sabres – betting on sports and helping others place wagers, as well.

Paetsch, who recently admitted his role in an illegal offshore gambling operation, was sentenced Friday to eight months of home confinement, 400 hours of community service and a $265,000 forfeiture. He will be allowed to travel to play hockey.

Now with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, the top minor league affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, Paetsch acknowledged receiving cash or credit from his bookies when friends and other players placed bets with the online service.

As part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, he also admitted providing fellow gamblers with the current odds on sporting events, making arrangements to collect debts, and keeping bettors informed of their credit limits and balances.

Paetsch’s sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. came just nine months after the disclosure that former Sabre Thomas Vanek placed bets with the same gambling service. Vanek reportedly lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly millions, because of his wagering on pro football.

Vanek is cooperating with authorities and is not expected to be charged with a crime.

Douglas Morabito, Paetsch’s defense attorney, has said that his client had no involvement with Vanek.

Paetsch, a resident of Spencerport, outside Rochester, pleaded guilty to two charges: transmission of wagering information, and structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements.

The second conviction covers the allegation that Paetsch, on multiple occasions between January 2010 and June 2014, withdrew and deposited amounts of less than $10,000 to hide proceeds from the gambling ring.

The criminal prosecution of Paetsch is linked to three other defendants in the gambling case, including two brothers, Mark and Joseph Ruff of Connecticut.

Mark Ruff was recently sentenced to nine years in prison. Joseph Ruff got 41 months. A fourth defendant, Paul Borrelli, 66, of Rochester, is still awaiting sentencing.


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