Former Dodger Yasiel Puig will plead guilty to lying to feds about sports gambling ring after he admitted to taking more than $100,000 in illegal wagers on sports games, including the $2 million World Series game in which he hit for the cycle in 2013 and 2014.
After serving four months of his six-month sentence, the Dodgers’ star slugger will have served only four weeks of his five-year, $30 million contract, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Puig and the Dodgers were to enter a plea deal Friday.
On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and a charge of tax evasion. All four counts carry a maximum of more than $1 million. Each charge has a maximum of eight years in prison and a maximum of $250,000 in fines.
Puig and his attorneys made no plea before the judge who was set to hear the deal. They would not comment to Crasnick. They had previously said their client had “strong reasons” to plead guilty, including the fact that he was innocent.
Puig’s attorneys had initially argued that he had a legitimate reason to lie to the feds. In their opening statement, they said that Puig was part of a sports gambling ring, in which he had received about $2 million in illegal wagers. The prosecutors disagreed, noting that Puig was never involved in bookmaking.
Puig was found guilty of taking part in an illegal gambling scheme last year.
Puig is likely to get some credit on a positive note of sorts from a decision by The Sports Book Alliance, the professional association of casino, sportsbooks and sports betting operators that oversees the World Series.
This week, it took away its title as “the” World Series, but its top status will remain. The new name for the World Series is simply the Fall Classic. The Fall Classic will begin Oct. 1, two weeks after the World Series’ conclusion.
The move was necessary, a spokesman for The World Series said. The