Six Ex-Cards Busted in Venezuelan Fraud Case

Six former St. Louis Cardinals farmhands have been nailed in an age and identity fraud crackdown by MLB in Venezuela.

In a Wednesday press release, Major League Baseball announced initial results from the expansion of their efforts to reduce age and identity fraud beyond their prior focus in the Dominican Republic. Specifically, six free agents from Venezuela have been deemed ineligible to sign for one year while another player currently under contract has been placed on the disqualified list for one year.

The six free agents who falsified their age and/or identity are all former members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Two were released 13 months ago, last October, and the other four were cut loose in May.

None of the players, two left-handed pitchers, two right-handers, a catcher and a shortstop, were top performers on the field for the Cardinals and are not currently under contract with a major league organization.

They are Ruben Alvarado, Fabian Marquez (called Fabian Marquea in the release), Osmir Medina, Sergio Nieves (called Serio Nieves in the release), Omar Viloria and Jose Ramon Weffer.

All six were signed by St. Louis between July 2007 and July 2008 and presented documentation that stated their age was either 16 or 17 at the time. Each played either one or two seasons for the Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals, but did not appear in the US.

Name Pos'n  Stated DOB Signed VSL Released
Ruben Alvarado LHR 7/19/1991 7/19/2007 2008/09 10/2009
Fabian Marquez RHR 8/18/1991 11/4/2007 2008/09 10/2009
Osmir Medina SS 11/27/1990 2/27/2008 2008/09 05/2010
Sergio Nieves RHS 10/18/1991 7/12/2008 2009 05/2010
Omar Viloria C 1/23/1990 11/24/2007 2008/09 05/2010
Jose Weffer LHP 5/12/1992 7/2/2008 2009 05/2010

The ineligible players' actual names and/or correct ages were not disclosed. A Cardinals official contacted Wednesday night would not immediately comment on the announcement, but this article will be updated on Thursday when the organization issues a statement.

The seventh player, Erickson Salaya of the Milwaukee Brewers organization, was found to have falsified his age in connection with his current Minor League contract.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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