Former MLB Player, 3 Others Charged with Staging Auto Accident in Miami

April 16, 2024

Four people, including a Cuban-born former Major League Baseball player who earned more than $15 million in his playing career, have been charged with staging an auto accident and defrauding an insurance carrier.

Yuniesky Betancourt, 42, who played nine seasons at shortstop for the Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers, was booked into jail in Miami-Dade County late last week, according to the Florida CFO’s office and local news reports. Three others, Abel Vera, Nancy Mercedes Pena and Maura Perez were also charged with staging the accident in December 2022, then filing a claim with Kemper Insurance.

All four of the alleged perpetrators sought medical treatment and physical therapy for injuries that they never sustained in the crash, CFO Jimmy Patronis said in a statement Monday. The claims totaled $61,000 and Kemper paid out more than $22,800.

Investigators with the Florida Department of Financial Services accessed data from the crashed vehicle’s event data recorder, which showed the accident had not happened as reported, DFS noted.

“Staging accidents is incredibly dangerous and fraud like this costs every Floridian in the form of higher auto insurance premiums,” Patronis said.

Betancourt, who had a .261 career batting average, was paid more than $5 million by each of the three teams he played for, from 2005 through 2013, according to Baseball Reference, an online site. If convicted, Betancourt and his co-defendants could face up to 10 years in prison.

Photo: Betancourt in 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Bernacchi)

Topics Auto

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