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LOS ANGELES – Former Major League Baseball player, Yasiel Puig, agreed to plead guilty to lying to federal agents who were investigating an illegal gambling operation, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice Monday.

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According to a news release from the DOJ, Yasiel Puig Valdés, 31, has agreed to plead guilty to a count of making false statements that has a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

Puig has agreed to pay a $55,000 fine and has also agreed to appear in the United States District Court on Nov. 15, according to the DOJ.

“Under our system of justice, no one is above the law,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada, in the news release. “The integrity of our nation’s criminal justice system depends on people telling the truth, and those who fail to abide by this simple principle must face consequences.”

According to The Associated Press, Puig acknowledged in a plea agreement in August that over a few months in 2019, he incurred about $280,000 in losses that he had wagered on tennis, football and basketball games. The wagers were through a third party who worked for an illegal gambling operation, which was run by Wayne Nix. The AP said that Nix is a former minor-league baseball player.

Puig also acknowledged that he had lied in January to federal investigators and denied placing bets through the operation in the plea agreement, according to the AP.

According to the DOJ, Nix pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to operate an illegal sports gambling business and filing a false tax return.

The AP said that Nix had been running his operation for about 20 years and it included current and former professional athletes either as clients or employees.

“When given the opportunity to be truthful about his involvement with Nix’s Gambling businesses, Mr. Puig chose not to,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Los Angeles Field Office Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, in the news release. “Mr. Puig’s lies hindered the legal and procedural tasks of the investigators and prosecutors.”

According to the AP, Puig played with the Los Angeles Dodgers for six seasons and earned an All-Star selection in 2014. Puig then played for the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians in 2019 before he became a free agent. He went on to play in the Mexican league.

Puig is currently playing professional baseball in South Korea, the DOJ said. According to the AP, last year he signed a one-year, $1 million contract with South Korea’s Kiwoom Heroes.

The DOJ also announced Monday that former MLB player Erik Kristian Hiljus, 49, had entered a plea agreement and agreed to plead guilty to two counts of subscribing to false tax returns. He will face up to six years in federal prison.

The DOJ said that Hiljus was an agent for Nix’s operation but did not work with Puig.