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Yasiel Puig pleads guilty of lying to officials in gambling sting

Yasiel Puig has pleaded guilty in connection with an illegal gambling ring.

The United States Department of Justice announced Monday that Puig, the 31-year-old former MLB outfielder, pled guilty to one charge of lying to federal law enforcement officials. Puig’s punishment in the plea agreement is currently unknown, but the designation carries a maximum of five years in prison.

“Under our system of justice, no one is above the law,” United States Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement. “The integrity of our nation’s criminal justice system depends on people telling the truth, and those who fail to abide by this simple principal must face consequences.”

Added IRS criminal investigation officer Tyler Hatcher: “When given the opportunity to be truthful about his involvement with [bookmaker Wayne Joseph Nix]’s Gambling businesses, Mr. Puig chose not to. Mr. Puig’s lies hindered the legal and procedural tasks of the investigators and prosecutors.”

Former MLB outfielder Yasiel Puig pled guilty for lying to feds about betting in an illegal sports gambling ring.
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Yasiel Puig while with the Dodgers.
Yasiel Puig while with the Dodgers.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

According to the release, Puig placed bets with a third party — identified as Agent 1 — who was working for Nix, a 46-year-old former minor league baseball player who was charged this past March in connection with allegedly running a multi-million dollar gambling ring in the Los Angeles area.

Nix pled guilty in April to one count each of conspiracy to operate an illegal sports gambling business and filing a false tax return. He is set to be sentenced next March.

The Justice Department’s release says Puig lost nearly $283,000 between May and June of 2019. After paying Agent 1 $200,000 in cashier’s checks, Puig continued to place nearly 900 bets on tennis, football and basketball games between July and September of 2019.

This past January, Puig was interviewed by the feds and was caught lying about his interactions with Agent 1, claiming that the two did not discuss gambling, when there was tangible evidence to the contrary.

Puig played for the Dodgers from 2013 through 2018, and played for the Reds and Guardians in 2019. He currently plays professionally in South Korea.

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