NEW YORK (AP) — Former major league player Yasiel Puig did not have a criminal attorney and felt compromised in part by his mental health issues in an interview with federal agents investigating an illegal gambling operation, according to a statement released Tuesday night. his agent.
The US Department of Justice announced Monday that Puig, 31, will plead guilty to lying in that interview. Court documents say he agreed to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement, and after doing so could face up to five years in federal prison. He also agreed to pay a minimum fine of $55,000.
“The government’s indictment came from a single interview he gave back in January via Zoom,” said Puig’s agent, Lysette Carnet of the Leona Sports Agency.
“He came to the interview feeling rushed, unprepared, without a criminal lawyer with him, and also lacking his own interpreter. Given his history growing up in authoritarian Cuba, government interviews exacerbate symptoms of ADHD and other mental health struggles,” he said. and which he is treating. He would have benefited from this care at the time of the interview.”
Current said Puig’s attorney, Kerry Axel, has also made clear that under sentencing guidelines, he is eligible to be subject to probation.
“I want to point out that many of the headlines were completely misleading, with some of the articles including completely false statements,” Current said. “Yasil Puig has not been accused of illegal gambling, has not been a member of a gambling ring, nor has he bet on baseball. He has not been accused of gambling.” any kind in any sport whatsoever or any involvement in any illegal gambling.The absolute only conduct is what he said or did not say during an interview conducted by IRS and HSI officials, as described in a statement released by his attorney.
Yasil Puig was not a target of the government’s investigation. The government asked him to be a witness to the gambling organizers and others.”
277 with 132 home runs and 415 RBIs while appearing in seven major league seasons, the first six with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He earned an All-Star selection with the Dodgers in 2014.
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 contact contract with the Kiwoom Heroes in South Korea.
Current said Puig’s legal problem did not preclude him from playing in the major leagues or abroad “depending on the organization’s regulations”.
“Puig has taken charge, and this agreement with the government should end this whole unfortunate incident,” said Current.
MLB won’t make it unless Puig tries to sign with a major league organization.
In a plea agreement in August, Puig admitted that in just a few months in 2019, he racked up more than $280,000 in losses while betting on tennis, soccer and basketball through a third party that operated an illegal gambling operation run by Wayne Nix. Former minor league baseball player.
Authorities said Puig placed at least 900 bets through betting sites controlled by the Knicks and through a man who worked for the Knicks.
In a plea agreement, Puig admitted to lying in January to federal investigators who were looking into the business, denying that he placed bets during the process.
Nix pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to run an illegal sports gambling business and to file a false tax return. Prosecutors said Nix’s operation lasted two decades and included current and former professional athletes as clients or employees.
Federal prosecutors also announced Monday that another former MLB player, Eric Christian Helgus, 49, of Los Angeles, has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of subscribing to false tax returns. They said he was an agent of Operation Nix.
Hiljus was drafted by the New York Mets in 1991 but made his major league debut in 1999 with the Detroit Tigers. He also played for the Oakland Athletics in 2001 and 2002. He pitched 124 innings in four seasons, going 8-3 with a 4.72 career ERA.
Hiljus could face up to six years in federal prison at sentencing.
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