Prison in the cards
Ex-MLB All Star Yasiel Puig Valdés is facing a maximum five-year term in a federal prison. The 31-year-old agreed to plead guilty to lying to the Feds about bets he placed on sporting events via an illegal gambling firm.
agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false statements
According to a US Attorney’s Office Central District of California (USAO-CDC) news release on Monday, Puig agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false statements. The USAO Los Angeles shared the ex-LA Dodger’s felony charge plea agreement via Twitter:
At present, Puig plays for South Korean professional baseball franchise Kiwoom. He is one of the most high-profile athletes to get snarled up in the illegal sports betting web run by ex-minor league player Wayne Nix.
According to the DOJ, Puig made illegal sports bets in 2019 via a firm coordinated by Nix. In January 2022, during a federal interview at which Puig’s lawyer was present, the baseball player lied several times to the Feds about making the bets.
Big loss spurs Puig on
According to Puig’s plea agreement filed August 29, Puig owed Nix’s gambling firm $282,900 by June 2019 for losing bets he’d placed via text messages. Nix’s refusal to allow Puig access to sports betting websites until he paid up motivated the baseball player to clear $200,000 off his slate.
On July 4, 2019, Nix once again provided Puig direct access to the betting websites. From that date through September 29 of the same year, Puig placed 899 additional bets on basketball, football, and tennis.
hindered the legal and procedural tasks of the investigators and prosecutors”
The DOJ news release cited IRS Criminal Investigation LA Field Office Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, He claims Puig had the chance to come clean about Nix but chose not to. “Mr. Puig’s lies hindered the legal and procedural tasks of the investigators and prosecutors,” Hatcher stated.
Fine and a court date
Just a few months after Puig first lied to the Feds, Nix and his business partner both pleaded guilty to running an illegal sports betting ring in Southern California.
Puig, who has also agreed to pay a fine of at least $55,000, will face the United States District Court on November 15 for his initial appearance.