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Friday, June 14, 2024

Yasiel Puig to Plead Guilty For Lying During Federal Gambling Probe

  • According to unsealed indictment, Puig lied to federal investigators earlier this year about his illegal betting activity.
  • Puig is scheduled to have his first court appearance as part of plea agreement on Tuesday.
Cincinatti Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig looks dejected in team dugout
Sam Greene/Imagn Content Services

Former MLB slugger Yasiel Puig is scheduled to appear in a federal courtroom Tuesday afternoon where he’s expected to plead guilty to making false statements to federal investigators during an illegal gambling investigation. 

Puig allegedly lied to federal agents in January when was asked about racking up $282,900 in gambling losses over a two-month span in 2019 to an illegal sports betting operation run by former minor league ballplayer Wayne Joseph Nix, according to court records unsealed on Monday.

Under the plea agreement, Puig has agreed to pay a fine of $55,000 and faces as much as three years in prison. 

Puig, 31, paid $200,000 through a middleman to cover those losses to Nix. Upon payment, Nix gave Puig access to Sand Island Sports — the owner of which pleaded guilty earlier this year for operating the illegal betting site — to place bets directly. 

Puig, however, denied knowing the person he sent that money to via two $100,000 cashiers checks and that he placed bets through Nix’s firm. 

“When given the opportunity to be truthful about his involvement with Nix’s Gambling businesses, Mr. Puig chose not to,” IRS Special Agent Tyler Hatcher said in a statement. “ “Mr. Puig’s lies hindered the legal and procedural tasks of the investigators and prosecutors.”

Between July 2019 and September 2019, Puig allegedly placed 899 additional bets on tennis, football and basketball games through the websites,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. 

In April, Nix pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to operate an illegal sports gambling business along with one count of filing a false tax return. 

Puig played seven years in the majors, the first six with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was an all-star selection in 2014. He’s currently playing in South Korea.

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