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February 4, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Wife of ex-Mariner to change plea in credit-card scheme

The wife of former Seattle Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero is scheduled to plead guilty to federal wire-fraud charges later this week  for allegedly using a debit card belonging to the wife of pitcher Felix Hernandez to make thousands of dollars of unauthorized online purchases, according to court records.

Maria Jacqueline Peguero is scheduled to appear for a change-of-plea hearing at 10:30 a.m. Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Strombom in Tacoma, where recently filed documents indicate she will plead guilty to three counts of wire fraud for a trio of charges made on a credit card belonging to Sandra Hernandez in September 2012 for online purchases made at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.

Those charges totaled more than $8,200, according to an information filed with the court on Jan. 31.

An information is a type of federal charging document that requires the permission of the defendant to file and generally indicates a plea-agreement has been reached and a guilty plea will be entered to the charges it contains. Wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Overall, the charges say, Peguero rolled up nearly $180,000 in unauthorized purchases between June and September of 2012 after befriending Sandra Hernandez.

Felix Hernandez, affectionately known as “King Felix,” is the Mariners’ $19 million-a-year starting pitcher and winner of a Cy Young Award.

Peguero, 26, an outfielder, was traded last week to the Kansas City Royals.

Maria Peguero, 22, is the youngest daughter of the late Pedro Borbon, who played major league baseball for 12 seasons — 10 for Cincinnati — as an acclaimed relief pitcher.

The initial charges, filed in October 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 credit card through an account belonging to a “Jackie Peguero” because the billing and shipping addresses were different.

The charges say Morgan Stanley bank reimbursed the victims after the fraud was discovered.

According to the court documents, Maria Peguero “spent two or three days” at the Hernandezes’ Bellevue home in May 2012 while Felix Hernandez was away on a road trip with the Mariners.

According to the complaint, Sandra Hernandez asked Peguero for help making online purchases “due to [Hernandez’s] limited understanding of the English language.” Hernandez told investigators that Peguero had access to her credit cards during that time.

According to the investigation, Maria Peguero is associated with an email address, versacegoldbarbie@yahoo.com, that was later traced to a Twitter account on which agents found photographs of Peguero wearing some of the items they believe were purchased illegally from Saks. In one, Peguero is sitting next to a Gucci handbag identical to one purchased from Saks through the Hernandez account for $1,750.

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 credit-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.

Carlos Peguero told investigators that he was unaware of his wife’s alleged purchases, the documents say.

0 Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Carlos Pegeuro, felix hernandez, Seattle Mariners

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