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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

‘ChiefsAholic’ superfan pleads guilty in string of bank robberies

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LIV, 31-20 over the San Francisco 49ers, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., Feb. 2, 2020. Chiefs superfan Xaviar Michael Babudar had a good seat at the game, a ticket that would have fetched about $8,500. (AJ Mast/The New York Times)

By Jesús Jiménez

A Kansas City Chiefs superfan known as ChiefsAholic pleaded guilty earlier this week in federal court to charges related to a string of bank robberies across seven states in 2022 and 2023, prosecutors said, adding that he had used some of the money to gamble on his favorite team.

The man, Xaviar Michael Babudar, 29, pleaded guilty Wednesday before Judge Howard F. Sachs of U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, to one count of money laundering and one count of transporting stolen property across state lines, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri said in a statement. Babudar also pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery in a federal case in Oklahoma, prosecutors said.

Babudar was well known among Kansas City Chiefs fans for regularly attending games dressed as a wolf in the team’s apparel, and he had developed a “robust social media presence” on X, formerly Twitter, where he went by ChiefsAholic, prosecutors said.

He boasted about bets that would earn him tens of thousands of dollars if he won and had an opulent lifestyle as a fan: a good seat to see his team win the Super Bowl in Miami Gardens, Florida, in 2020, a ticket that would have fetched about $8,500. He took a selfie with the club’s general manager on the confetti-strewn field. He attended quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ annual fundraising gala in late 2022 in Kansas City and apparently won the painting that was featured onstage throughout the event.

In 2022, prosecutors said, Babudar began stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from banks across several states. He was arrested in December 2022 after he robbed a bank in Tulsa, Oklahoma, prosecutors said.

Babudar was released on bond in February 2023, and he later cut off his ankle monitor and fled Oklahoma, prosecutors said. After he missed a court hearing the following month, many began to wonder where Babudar was and how he was able to sustain himself as a fugitive.

For months, Babudar was able to evade police until he was found and arrested in Sacramento, California, on July 7, 2023. Prosecutors said he had been able to dodge police with money he won from gambling on the Chiefs.

Months before his initial arrest, Babudar placed two bets on June 10, 2022, at the Argosy Casino in Alton, Illinois, according to prosecutors. He bet $5,000 that the Chiefs would win Super Bowl LVII, and he bet another $5,000 that Mahomes would win the MVP Award.

The bets paid out after the Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 12, 2023. The following month, a $100,000 check was sent to Babudar from the Argosy Casino, prosecutors said.

Babudar has been detained in federal custody without bond since his arrest in Sacramento. He was scheduled to be sentenced July 10, when he could face up to 50 years in prison without parole, according to prosecutors.

Teresa Moore, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said in a statement Wednesday that Babudar’s “violent crime spree” had “traumatized bank employees.”

Babudar “tried to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen cash by using it to gamble online and at casinos, but the odds caught up with him,” Moore said.

Matthew T. Merryman, a lawyer for Babudar, said in a statement Wednesday that his client had taken responsibility for his actions.

“From the beginning of this case the government has been blitzing, and Xaviar’s pocket was collapsing,” Merryman said. “But today Xaviar stepped up into the pressure.”

Babudar admitted to stealing from banks across the Midwest and beyond in amounts that ranged from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands, prosecutors said.

On March 2, 2022, Babudar admitted to stealing $70,000 from a bank in Clive, Iowa, where he walked in wearing a ski mask and demanded money from a teller, warning the teller that he had a firearm, prosecutors said.

Babudar also admitted to stealing from banks in Nebraska, Iowa and Tennessee and to trying to rob other banks, prosecutors said. Babudar also admitted to robbing two banks while on the run from police after his initial arrest, prosecutors said.

The guilty plea Wednesday was part of an agreement that will require Babudar to pay more than $532,000 in restitution to the banks he admitted he had robbed, prosecutors said. He must also forfeit an autographed painting of Mahomes.

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