Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Saturday, October 19, 2013
Felix Hernandez's wife victim of fraud

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- The wife of Seattle Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero has been accused of making $180,000 in unauthorized purchases with a debit card belonging to another person in the Mariners organization, federal court documents showed.

Citing an anonymous source familiar with the investigation, The Seattle Times reported Saturday that the unnamed victims described in court documents are star pitcher Felix Hernandez and his wife. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment beyond what was available in court filings, and a team spokesman did not return a call seeking comment.

Maria Jacqueline Peguero was charged earlier this month with three counts of wire fraud, according to the federal court documents. An agent with the U.S. Secret Service says in the court filings that Peguero made 60 unauthorized purchases in 2012 from the upscale retailer Saks Fifth Avenue.

Maria Jacqueline Peguero, 22, was arrested in the case but is now free on bond. Her court-appointed attorney did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.

The court documents do not identify the two people who owned the debit card in the case but the filings say one of them is a co-worker of Carlos Peguero. Peguero has been with the Mariners organization for several years, playing some games with the Seattle club but spending most of this past year with the team's Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma.

One of the debit card owners -- Hernandez's wife, according to The Seattle Times -- has a limited understanding of the English language and described to investigators that Maria Jacqueline Peguero had helped her to make online purchases in May 2012. She also told authorities that Peguero had asked whether she reviewed any of her bills, and she had responded that she did not usually review bills because the finances of the two victims were managed by a third party.

Authorities say Peguero had items shipped to her own apartment in Fife. Representatives from Saks first began scrutinizing the purchases because the billing addresses and shipping addresses did not match, according to court records.

Carlos Peguero is not charged in the case and told authorities that his wife had told him that her brother worked for Saks.

Part of the investigation focused on images that Maria Jacqueline Peguero had posted on her Twitter account. Investigators said the images showed her wearing clothes that matched items purchased online from Saks, including a leather purse that costs $1,750 and a blouse that costs $208.