Former MLB Star Outfielder Yasiel Puig Could Be Headed to Prison

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It Sounds Like Outfielder Yasiel Puig Could Be Headed to Prison

Chicago Cubs

If Yasiel Puig’s time in professional baseball wasn’t already over, it may very well be now.

Puig has agreed to plead guilty to felony-level charges after lying to investigators about an illegal gambling operation:

The press release from the Justice Department has the full rundown of what happened. The short version is that Puig was operating with some other folks to illegally bet on sports a few years ago. When the feds caught wind of it, they interviewed him about it, and he lied.

From the press release:

Puig called and sent text messages to Agent 1 with wagers on sporting events. Agent 1 then submitted the bets to the Nix gambling business on Puig’s behalf. By June 2019, Puig owed Nix’s gambling business $282,900 for sports gambling losses.

Agent 1 and another person identified in court papers as “Individual B” instructed Puig to make a check or wire transfer payable to a Nix gambling business client – identified in court papers as “Individual A” – to whom the business owed at least $200,000 in gambling winnings.

On June 25, 2019, Puig withdrew $200,000 from a Bank of America branch in Glendale then purchased two cashiers’ checks for $100,000 each that were made payable to Individual A. Puig did not immediately send the checks due to a dispute over the balance and access to Nix-controlled websites used to place sports bets. Nix refused to allow Puig access to the betting websites until Puig’s gambling debt was paid.

After Puig paid the $200,000, Nix provided Puig direct access to the betting websites. From July 4, 2019 to September 29, 2019, Puig placed 899 additional bets on tennis, football and basketball games through the websites.

In January 2022, federal investigators interviewed Puig in the presence of his lawyer. During the interview, despite being warned that lying to federal agents is a crime, Puig lied several times. During the interview, he falsely stated that he only knew Agent 1 from baseball and that he never discussed gambling with him, when in fact Puig discussed sports betting with Agent 1 hundreds of times on the telephone and via text message.

After agents showed Puig a copy of one of the cashiers’ checks he purchased on June 25, 2019, Puig falsely stated that he did not know the person who instructed him to send $200,000 in cashiers’ checks to Individual A. Puig also falsely stated that he had placed a bet online with an unknown person on an unknown website that resulted in a loss of $200,000.

In March 2022, Puig sent Individual B an audio message via WhatsApp in which he admitted to lying to federal agents during the interview two months earlier.

Puig, who was always immensely talented but couldn’t seem to avoid drama unrelated to baseball (as well as much more serious sexual assault allegations), may find himself in prison before this latest episode is over. He had been playing in South Korea, but even if he serves only a short sentence, and even though he’s only 31, this seems like it’s probably it.

Yasiel Puig was an exciting player, looking like a superstar when he debuted with the Dodgers at 22 and 23 years old back in 2013-14. But that level of performance didn’t last, and the various troubles took off from there. An ugly ending to a once-promising career.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.