Former Los Angeles Dodgers athlete Yasiel Puig pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents during an ongoing investigation conducted by the DOJ regarding an illegal gambling operation.
A guilty plea of one count of “making false statements to federal authorities” could lead to Puig serving a sentence of five years in prison. As part of his plea, Puig agreed to pay a minimum $55,000 fine.
The DOJ stated that Puig began betting on sporting events in May 2019 via a third party, which was allegedly conducting business with an illegal gambling business connected with Wayne Joseph Nix. The following month, he had accumulated more than $282,900 in gambling losses according to officials.
The DOJ disclosed that Puig had paid off $200,000 via cashier’s checks, then placed almost 900 additional bets on tennis, basketball and football games during the months that followed.
Federal agents interviewed Puig earlier this year about his activities and involvement in Nix’s operation. According to government officials, Puig “lied several times” and stated he knew the third party was connected with MLB but “never discussed gambling.”
Federal investigators said several text messages contradicted Puig’s claims. A WhatsApp audio message contained Puig’s admission that he had lied to federal agents.
IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent Tyler Hatcher delivered an official statement that was released by the DOJ.
The official statement read: “When given the opportunity to be truthful about his involvement with Nix’s gambling business, Mr. Puig chose not to.
“Mr. Puig’s lies hindered the legal and procedural tasks of the investigators and prosecutors.