Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dominican Juan Carlos Oviedo suspended for age fraud

Dominican Juan Carlos Oviedo aka Leo Nunez was recently suspended for age and identity fraud. Age fraud has been an issue with signing Dominican baseball prospects ever since teams first started signing Dominican prospects to big money deals. Dominican prospects have tried to misrepresent their ages because teams were more likely to sign a younger player that had time to develop. If they turned out to be older than they said, then it was just the teams left holding their *!?@ in their hands, and the players left to face legal backlash.

But recently the MLB implemented an age limit on signing international free agents. Dominican prospects must now be 17 years old before they are signed by a big league club. At the same time they introduced new measures to ensure a player's age. So, now the legal repercussions are greater. Basically, MLB is making it virtually impossible for Dominican prospects to commit age fraud. There are tests of birth certificates and other documents, but now also interviews with the person who assisted in the birth of the prospect or blood tests that verify a player's age.

Now the Oviedo/Nunez case comes about because signed with a team before the additional measures were made to ensure a prospects age. In 2008 MLB offered amnesty to any player that admitted to age fraud, and Leo Nunez did not come forward.

Nunez is perhaps the most high profile player to be busted for age AND identity fraud. He was the Marlins everyday closer for three years. Miguel Tejada was caught for age fraud, but he never misrepresented his identity. With all the homeland security issues in the United States, the identity fraud has added to Oviedo's plight. He was facing charges in both the Dominican Republic and the United States.

He seems to have been cleared of those charges, but MLB is slapping him with an eight-week ban. Expect to see him back with the Marlins some time in mid-July.

With the new precautions being enforced by MLB, the teams, and the Dominican government also on-board to help out, the Dominican Baseball Guy expects to see little-to-none of this going forward.
Dominican pitcher Leo Nunez in trouble for age fraud pitches for the Marlins
Dominican Leo Nunez aka Juan Carlos Oviedo suspended for age and identity fraud,
photo by bkrieger02 on Flickr

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