Former Babson college student and varsity soccer player revealed to have threatened professional and amateur athletes after sustaining heavy gambling losses.
A former Massachusetts college soccer player who was a prolific sports gambler is alleged to have sent death threats to 45 professional and amateur athletes he blamed for losses he sustained — along with having made ‘vile’ racial slurs, federal prosecutors said.
Addison Choi, 23, of Fullerton, California, was charged Wednesday in federal court in Boston with making the threats to the athletes between July and December 2017, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced.
The prolific sports gambler is alleged to have incurred heavy losses, with the then student borrowing money from friends and family to pay his gambling debts and gamble more. In turn the losses magnified, leading to the varsity soccer player resorting to threatening athletes he blamed for his own losses.
‘There is a difference between free speech — even hate speech — and intentionally putting others in fear for their lives,’ US Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement. ‘Mr. Choi crossed that line. … He threatened his victims in graphically violent, often racist terms.’
The name of Choi’s former college was not released by federal authorities, but MassLive.com identified the school as Babson College in Wellesley.
Court documents show that Choi attended the private university as recently as 2017 and gambled heavily, making bets that he lost more frequently than he won, federal prosecutors said.
Addson Choi prolific gambler uses the cover of Instagram to threaten his victims:
After one particularly bad bet in July 2017, Choi sent a professional athlete a death threat on Instagram, warning that he intended to kill the player and their relatives by hanging them from a tree.
‘I hope you die you f–king die you stupid monkey n—-r,’ Choi wrote.
Later that day, prosecutors said, Choi sent a separate death threat, promising to skin the relatives of another athlete.
‘I hope you never play again,’ Choi warned.
Choi also posted threats to kill athletes’ loved ones directly on their Instagram accounts, MassLive reported.
Prosecutors alleged Choi rather than using his own name or revealing his identity, often creating social media accounts where he threatened and harassed his targets.
While Instagram repeatedly shut down Choi’s accounts, the losing gambler responded by making new ones that didn’t link to his previously banned accounts, prosecutors said.
Choi gambled in all major sports including baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis and soccer. They included both American and international teams.
Offered Choi’s attorney, Joseph Simons via USA Today, ‘Mr. Choi has never had a criminal record prior to this and comes from a good family.’
Adding, ‘He was a collegiate athlete. These allegations don’t represent who he is as a person.’
Choi, who had faced up to five years in prison, has agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of one federal count of transmitting threats in interstate commerce. Prosecutors will recommend he serve up to 27 months in prison.
In addition to prison time, prosecutors have also recommended three years of supervised release and a fine up to $250,000.