New York bookie Joseph Ruff pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to an extortion conspiracy that included a $230,000 payment from Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek, Ruff's lawyer Matt Parrinello confirmed.
Ruff also pleaded guilty to illegal gambling and a money-laundering conspiracy.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported an allegation from Parrinello that Vanek owed gambling debts to Ruff in upwards of $10 million.
Vanek's agent Stephen Bartlett vehemently denied that number.
"That's absolute fantasy. It's a complete fabrication," Bartlett told ESPN.com. "He was a victim more than anything else."
When asked by ESPN.com about the $10 million gambling debt, Parrinello said it was an estimate.
"That's an approximate amount over a significant period of time," Parrinello said.
According to Parrinello, Vanek's bets were mainly football and basketball, but never on hockey.
Ruff extorted the $230,000 payment from Vanek by claiming Ruff himself would get hurt if Vanek didn't pay him the money.
"It wasn't a direct threat to Thomas Vanek," Parrinello said. "It was my client's story that if Thomas didn't make some payments, my client would get hurt."
Vanek wasn't named in an April 2014 indictment against Ruff and two others obtained by ESPN.com's Paula Lavigne. Parrinello said Vanek wasn't referred to by name in court papers Friday.