Former Major League Baseball player Yasiel Puig The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of lying to law enforcement officials about sports betting with an illegal gambling operator, according to documents unsealed Monday.
Puig, who now plays professionally in South Korea, pleaded guilty to perjury and faces up to five years in federal prison. He also agreed to pay a fine of at least 55,000 US dollars.
Puig will make his first appearance in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
According to his lawsuit filed on August 29, Puig played in Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland During a seven-year MLB career from 2013 to ’19 — in May 2019, former minor leaguer Wayne began betting on sporting events through a third party working in the Knicks’ illegal gambling operation.
By June 2019, Puig was down $282,900 in the Knicks’ gambling business; After paying the $200,000 in damages and regaining access to Nix’s controlled betting website, Puig placed 899 additional bets on tennis, football and basketball games between July 4, 2019 and September 29, 2019.
DOJ version no mention of betting on baseball. Puig played for Cincinnati and Cleveland in 2019 before becoming a free agent. He then played in the Mexican league and last year signed a one-year, $1 million contract with South Korea’s Kiwoom Heroes.
In January, federal investigators interviewed Puig in the presence of his attorney. In his plea, Puig admitted to lying to federal agents who searched the business and denied betting on the operation.
“Given the opportunity to tell the truth about his involvement in the Knicks’ gambling business, Mr. Puig chose not to,” Tyler Hatcher, special agent in charge of the IRS’s criminal investigations office in Los Angeles, said in a statement. “Mr. Puig’s lies obstructed the legal and procedural work of investigators and prosecutors.”
Nix pleaded guilty in April to operating an illegal sports gambling business and filing false tax returns. Prosecutors say the Knicks operation spanned two decades and included current and former professional athletes as clients and employees.
Federal prosecutors said Monday that another MLB player was also involved. Eric Christian HiljusThe 49-year-old from Los Angeles agreed to plead guilty to two counts of filing false tax returns. They said he was the Knicks operations representative.
Hiljus was drafted New York Mets It was in 1991, but in 1999 he made his debut in the major league Detroit Tigers. He also played Auckland Athletics In 2001 and 2002. He pitched 124 innings over four seasons and went 8-3 with a 4.72 career ERA.
Khiljus could face up to six years in federal prison at sentencing.
Puig hit .277 with 132 home runs and 415 RBIs in seven major league seasons, his first six with the Dodgers, and an All-Star appearance in 2014.
Information from the Associated Press and Reuters was included in this report.