Yasiel Puig faces new charges in illegal sports betting case
Two months after Yasiel Puig withdrew a guilty plea in an illegal comprehensive sports betting In the case, the former Major League Baseball outfielder faces new charges in the matter.
Puig, who withdrew his guilty plea to making false statements to federal law enforcement, now faces obstruction of justice charges in connection with the federal investigation. Puig, once an MLB All-Star, he initially agreed to plead guilty to making false statements in November, about a series of sports bets he made with an illegal operator. But weeks later, Puig withdrew the guilty plea citing new evidence that prompted his lawyers to challenge the charges.
During a three-month period until September 2019, Puig made nearly 900 sports bets through a CaliforniaIllegal sports betting ring based on court records. Although Puig allegedly bet on tennis, soccer and basketball games, he is not accused of betting on baseball as an active MLB player.
Under MLB Rule 21, Commish Manfred has discretion to sanction a player caught betting with an illegal bookie. player https://t.co/Jqh8ew3JPJ
— Matt Rybaltowski (@MattRybaltowski) November 16, 2022
Puig opened the 2019 season with the Cincinnati Reds, where he spent the first half of the season, before the Reds traded him to Cleveland on July 31, 2019, in a three-team trade. Puig last appeared in an MLB uniform in 2019.
Explanation of charges
Beginning in 2019, Puig began placing sports bets through an outside agent who worked for an illegal sports betting operation, according to court records. The bets were made with a sports betting ring run by Wayne Nix, a former minor league baseball player in the Oakland Athletics organization. Nix, according to prosecutors, recruited a series of agents to place and accept bets with the illegal operation. The bets, according to court records, were facilitated through Sand Island Sports, an entity based in Costa Rica.
By that June, Puig owed Nix’s gambling business $282,900 for sports gambling losses, according to court documents. Puig paid off some of his debt with check payments totaling $200,000, then resumed betting with the operation on July 4, 2019, according to a court filing. Puig reportedly approached a deal with the Atlanta Braves in July 2020, but talks collapsed when the outfielder tested positive for COVID-19. Last season, Puig hit .277 with 21 home runs and 73 RBI for Kiwoom Heroes of South Korea’s KBO League.
According to court documents, Puig met an individual described as “Agent 1” at a youth baseball camp in 2019. At a meeting last January, federal investigators presented Puig with a photo of the individual and ask the gardener if he was talking to the agent. in your sports betting pattern. In response, Puig told investigators he only knew the agent through baseball, prosecutors noted.
Shortly after Puig appeared in U.S. District Court in California last November, a representative for the outfielder said he felt rushed and unprepared for the meeting with law enforcement officials. Puig, a native of Cuba, did the interview without criminal counsel and did not have an interpreter, said Lisette Carnet, the former MLB player’s agent. After reviewing the new evidence presented to Puig’s legal team last November, the gardener’s lawyers decided to withdraw the guilty plea.
“I want to clear my name,” Puig said in a November 2022 statement. “I should never have agreed to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit.”
Attorneys for former MLB star Yasiel Puig say new evidence could exonerate him from charges he allegedly lied to federal investigators.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) December 1, 2022
According to an indictment filed last Friday, Puig is accused of making false statements to officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division. Service. Puig’s statements were allegedly made during a January 27, 2022, interview with federal law enforcement. According to the indictment, Puig allegedly “attempted to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice by withholding information” from the agencies. Specifically, Puig withheld information about Agent 1’s role in the operation and the payment of his gambling debts, according to the prosecution.
Last month, Puig and his agent met with two MLB teams at the San Diego Winter Meetings, Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported While Puig is still listed as a Kiwoom Heroes player on the South Korean team’s official websitethe club is the outfielder is not expected to be re-signedaccording to various reports.
Yasiel Puig came to the Winter Meetings looking for work and met with two teams. It played well in Korea, but it’s not an easy sell. On the left: with him his agent Lisette Carnet pic.twitter.com/pbDGg1jCxE
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2022
If Puig signs with an MLB club, he could face punishment from the League for illegal betting. Under MLB Rule 21, Part D, the MLB commissioner has broad discretion to penalize a player who is caught placing a bet with an illegal bookmaker.
An attorney for Puig did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sports handle on Tuesday morning.
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