Former Mass. college soccer player charged with sending death threats to athletes

BOSTON (WHDH) - A former Massachusetts college soccer player was charged Wednesday with sending death threats to at least 45 professional and college athletes on Instagram, officials say.

Addison Choi, 23, of Fullerton, Calif., was charged with one count of transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another, according to United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling, District of Massachusetts.

According to court documents, in 2017 Choi attended college in Wellesley where he played varsity soccer.

He also gambled prolifically on sports, both professional and collegiate, and he lost more than he won, officials say.

When the players or teams that he bet on performed poorly, officials say that Choi used Instagram to send them death threats.

“There is a difference between free speech – even hate speech – and intentionally putting others in fear for their lives,” Lelling said. “Mr. Choi crossed that line. Based on today’s charging document, and hiding behind the anonymity of social media, he threatened his victims in graphically violent, often racist terms. We take seriously internet-based threats of violence, especially racist ones – they undermine our nation’s hard-won, fundamental values of equality.”

Between July 2017 and December 2017, Choi allegedly posted threats to at least 45 different Instagram accounts, with multiple threats to each account and often multiple targets per threat.

Choi faces a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution, and a fine of $250,000.

Choi will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.

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