The wife of part-time Seattle Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero is facing federal wire-fraud charges for allegedly buying nearly $180,000 in merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue using a debit card belonging to star teammate Felix Hernandez's wife, the Seattle Times' Mike Carter is reporting.
22-year-old Maria Peguero, who has pleaded not guilty and is currently free on bond, could face up to 20 years in prison.
The charges were filed by the U.S. Secret Service on Oct. 1, and agents later executed a search warrant to seize dozens of items -- delivered between June 26, 2012 and Oct. 9, 2012 -- from Peguero's Fife, Wash., apartment, according to the report.
Though the court documents obtained by the Seattle Times do not identify Hernandez -- who signed a then-record seven-year, $175-million extension before the 2013 season -- by name, sources confirmed his and his wife's identities.
Carlos Peguero, who told investigators that he was unaware of his wife's purchases, signed with the Mariners as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2005. He has played 65 games for them over the last three years, batting .195, while playing mainly for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.
From the report:
The charges, filed by U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Ashleigh Audley, allege that Saks Fifth Avenue in New York began to scrutinize a series of online purchases made with a Morgan Stanley debit card through an account belonging to a “Jackie Peguero” because the billing and shipping addresses were different.
There were more than 60 transactions in all, ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $11,000. On some days, as many as five separate purchases were made, according to a list contained in the complaint.
According to the court documents, Pegeuro spent two or three days at the Hernandezes' home in May 2012 while Felix was on road trips with the Mariners. During that time, Sandra Hernandez shopped online with Peguero, giving her access to her credit cards and asking her for help due to her "limited understanding of the English language."
According to the complaint, the purchases went on for more than three months, during which time Peguero contacted Sandra Hernandez to ask if she ever reviewed her debit-card statements. Hernandez told Peguero “that she did not usually review the bills because their finances were managed by a third party,” according to the complaint.Authorities eventually traced Peguero's email address to a Twitter account on which she had posted pictures of some of the items believed to be purchased illegally.