Wander Franco Is In Trouble (Grooming/Pedo Warning)

Pablo's TB Lover

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For Ellsbury or Crawford to not even be in the argument is wild, for guys who didn't even play out their $150 million contracts. But yup, Rendon would have to become an all-star in his mid-30s these next several years in order to not have a worse contract. And Strasburg takes the cake.
 

TheGazelle

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Patrick Corbin is also in the conversation. He was extended for less money than Strasberg (5/140) in 2019 but has been absolutely horrendous since signing it - leading the league in earned runs two of the last three years with a FIP over 5 if I am doing some back-of-the-napkin math correctly. Pretty wild that the Nationals have 2 laughably bad contracts at the same time. He is getting paid 34MM this year after throwing up a 5.2ERA/1.48WHIP/5.28FIP season across 180 (!!) innings last year.
 

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On the hitting side of bad contracts, Chris Davis totaled a -2.7 bWAR over the lifetime of his 7 yr/161M contract.
 

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Back to Franco…. https://x.com/hgomez27/status/1742694684378415449?s=20

I can’t tell from this if Wander’s mom’s payment to the victim’s mom was hush money, or if the victim’s mom was pimping out her own daughter?
There seems to be a lot of speculation, and very little reliable information. There's been a lot of smoke around the victim's mom, suggesting she may have been either pimping out her daughter and/or blackmailing Franco for money/cars.
 

nattysez

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Here's what the AP is reporting:

Dominican prosecutors on Wednesday accused Wander Franco of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering following allegations that the Tampa Bay Rays shortstop had a relationship with a minor whose mother also faces the same charges.

Prosecutors requested that a judge hold Franco on an $86,000 bond, bar him from leaving the Dominican Republic and place him under house arrest. They noted that the money laundering charges stems from allegations that Franco made payments to the minor’s mother.

https://www.thescore.com/mlb/news/2811506
 

Ale Xander

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That’s not really laundering (for Franco). (Although perhaps DR laws are much different)
If that was laundering they would have gotten Capone much earlier
 

Rovin Romine

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This story somehow keeps getting worse. Franco’s mother transferring money to the victim’s mother to keep the rape of a 14 year old quiet.
There's some tweeting from credible sources that the girl is 15 now. Which means this happened a year ago. Which means he was 21 at the time she was 14.

If that reporting is accurate, he's done in MLB, even if he claims it was consensual and even if he's subsequently acquitted.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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This story somehow keeps getting worse. Franco’s mother transferring money to the victim’s mother to keep the rape of a 14 year old quiet.
And I have a feeling it will keep getting worse. The Rays may be cheap, but paying for a handful of investigators to travel to the DR will be a large multiple cheaper than paying the remainder of Franco's contract. The worst thing that could happen is you just KNOW the guy did something, but it wasn't prosecuted and the team has to cut the player but pay out the remaining money. The Rays and the MLB executive office are going to turn every stone to make sure they don't have to pay $150+ million to someone this toxic.
 

trekfan55

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Back to Franco…. https://x.com/hgomez27/status/1742694684378415449?s=20

I can’t tell from this if Wander’s mom’s payment to the victim’s mom was hush money, or if the victim’s mom was pimping out her own daughter?
From what I can read, it seems that it was either hush money or blackmail money since the tweet says this happened after he had relations with the victim.

That’s not really laundering (for Franco). (Although perhaps DR laws are much different)
If that was laundering they would have gotten Capone much earlier
Laws have changed quite a bit. Almost every payment that is not fully declared and detailed gets filed under money laundering and most financial entities/authorities work on a “guilty until proven innocent” basis. Under pressure from the US (which can easily cripple a bank by denying corresponding services) banks all over Latin America are taking compliance to another level. I work in a field where we receive lots of transfers from abroad and there are times the bank requests every little detail of a transaction and its sender before it will release the money. All under this assumption.

BTW this is not only used in Latin Ameroca, you can see how Republicans keep yelling “money laundering” at Biden.

There's some tweeting from credible sources that the girl is 15 now. Which means this happened a year ago. Which means he was 21 at the time she was 14.

If that reporting is accurate, he's done in MLB, even if he claims it was consensual and even if he's subsequently acquitted.
The only possible way this goes away is if he can prove that he had nothing to do with her. And it doesn’t look like he can (and yeah we have crossed the line where he now has to prove it IMO at least to MLB, to be viable).
 

Rovin Romine

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The only possible way this goes away is if he can prove that he had nothing to do with her. And it doesn’t look like he can (and yeah we have crossed the line where he now has to prove it IMO at least to MLB, to be viable)
Well, social and criminal issues are held to different standards.

Here, if the reporting turns out to be accurate, he'll have paid millions of pesos to a girl's family that he "had nothing to do with"?

That's a pretty difficult argument to make, unless he was in the habit of paying millions to the families of other random girls he didn't know.

And what are the odds of that, really?
 

trekfan55

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Well, social and criminal issues are held to different standards.

Here, if the reporting turns out to be accurate, he'll have paid millions of pesos to a girl's family that he "had nothing to do with"?

That's a pretty difficult argument to make, unless he was in the habit of paying millions to the families of other random girls he didn't know.

And what are the odds of that, really?
That’s my point. He is done with MLB unless he can find a way to probe he had nothing to do, and whatever the Court System there does, it’s not looking good in that regard. And I am aware that the standard is different.

100,000 Dominican pesos is approximately $1700 USD. Pocket change to him, possibly life changing for them, disgusting regardless.
I was going to say that. It may not sound much when you do dollars but depending on where they live this is a lot of money.
 

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Well, social and criminal issues are held to different standards.

Here, if the reporting turns out to be accurate, he'll have paid millions of pesos to a girl's family that he "had nothing to do with"?

That's a pretty difficult argument to make, unless he was in the habit of paying millions to the families of other random girls he didn't know.

And what are the odds of that, really?
Based on lots of Dominican twitter speculation, some of which seems to be proving somewhat accurate with the charges against the girl’s mother, guessing he’s going to claim he didn’t know she was underage—that this was a full-on set-up for extortion purposes and she met him at a club or other “adult” type of place and portrayed herself as being of age. I’m assuming that wouldn’t fly in the US, although you would know that much better than me, but I have no idea how Dominican law would treat something like that.
 

Rovin Romine

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Based on lots of Dominican twitter speculation, some of which seems to be proving somewhat accurate with the charges against the girl’s mother, guessing he’s going to claim he didn’t know she was underage—that this was a full-on set-up for extortion purposes and she met him at a club or other “adult” type of place and portrayed herself as being of age. I’m assuming that wouldn’t fly in the US, although you would know that much better than me, but I have no idea how Dominican law would treat something like that.
I am equally ignorant re: Dominican law. As a criminal defense, that wouldn't work in the US. Here, the mother could also be charged with extortion or child endangerment or human trafficking, depending on the facts. Sometimes there are two bad actors. It might be possible for the lesser of the two to leverage their cooperation into a good deal, should the prosecution wish to go after the more culpable figure. . .but in the broadest sense, "I didn't know she was underage" is not a defense you can present to a jury.

Here, she's 14 and there are allegedly two victims. So my impression at this point is he's pretty much sunk as far as MLB goes.
 

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None of this is good, but I have to say the the money laundering charge has me very curious. I understand that Dominican law might be quite different than our laws, but typically money laundering includes some aspect of large amounts of illegally gotten, sums of untaxable money being moved in a way to appear legal. If the law there is similar in that regard I have to wonder what else Wander may have been up to outside of the already disgusting stuff he's been accused of.
 

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I am seeing a bunch of confusing reports. Is there evidence that Wander was still "dating" the 14 year old while payments to her Mother were being made?
 

VORP Speed

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I am equally ignorant re: Dominican law. As a criminal defense, that wouldn't work in the US. Here, the mother could also be charged with extortion or child endangerment or human trafficking, depending on the facts. Sometimes there are two bad actors. It might be possible for the lesser of the two to leverage their cooperation into a good deal, should the prosecution wish to go after the more culpable figure. . .but in the broadest sense, "I didn't know she was underage" is not a defense you can present to a jury.

Here, she's 14 and there are allegedly two victims. So my impression at this point is he's pretty much sunk as far as MLB goes.
He may be done in MLB, but how this plays out will impact his contract status with the Rays, I think. If he gets convicted and sent to prison, I assume the Rays won’t have to pay him, at least while he’s in prison. Can they void the contract, though? If he gets sent away for 5 years, do they have to pay the next 5 years of the contract once he’s out? As a convicted sex offender would he be banned from entering the US, which would get them off the hook? What if he somehow is acquitted or charges are dropped? Given that this is the DR, wouldn’t be shocking if the right people get greased and somehow this all disappears or he gets a slap on the wrist. Does MLB step in and ban him under the league’s child abuse policy? Do the Rays/MLB have to effectively serve as the prosecution here if the DR fails to do so? Is the MLBPA going to go to the mat to prevent his contract from being voided (most likely yes).

I’m assuming he’s done in MLB, but there is potentially going to be a major battle over his contract.
 

Rovin Romine

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None of this is good, but I have to say the the money laundering charge has me very curious. I understand that Dominican law might be quite different than our laws, but typically money laundering includes some aspect of large amounts of illegally gotten, sums of untaxable money being moved in a way to appear legal. If the law there is similar in that regard I have to wonder what else Wander may have been up to outside of the already disgusting stuff he's been accused of.
Total guess, but Wander could have laundered the money for BadMom. Like if he paid in such a way as to make it look like BadMom was legally earning the hush/access money.

He may be done in MLB, but how this plays out will impact his contract status with the Rays, I think. If he gets convicted and sent to prison, I assume the Rays won’t have to pay him, at least while he’s in prison. Can they void the contract, though? If he gets sent away for 5 years, do they have to pay the next 5 years of the contract once he’s out? As a convicted sex offender would he be banned from entering the US, which would get them off the hook? What if he somehow is acquitted or charges are dropped? Given that this is the DR, wouldn’t be shocking if the right people get greased and somehow this all disappears or he gets a slap on the wrist. Does MLB step in and ban him under the league’s child abuse policy? Do the Rays/MLB have to effectively serve as the prosecution here if the DR fails to do so? Is the MLBPA going to go to the mat to prevent his contract from being voided (most likely yes).

I’m assuming he’s done in MLB, but there is potentially going to be a major battle over his contract.
This could play out in many different ways, of course, but the bottom line is that MLB contracts are famously sticky.

But if (theoretically) a felony conviction for a sex crime does not violate the morality clause, I'm not sure any off-the-field activity would.

My best guess is that, should there be a conviction or something on that end of the spectrum, Wander and the Rays agree to the Rays paying an uncontested lesser amount.
 

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Total guess, but Wander could have laundered the money for BadMom. Like if he paid in such a way as to make it look like BadMom was legally earning the hush/access money.



This could play out in many different ways, of course, but the bottom line is that MLB contracts are famously sticky.

But if (theoretically) a felony conviction for a sex crime does not violate the morality clause, I'm not sure any off-the-field activity would.

My best guess is that, should there be a conviction or something on that end of the spectrum, Wander and the Rays agree to the Rays paying an uncontested lesser amount.
That was my thought as well: the Bauer payout was "only money" to the Dodgers to make the issue go away from their four walls, but paying an empty $25 million/year from 2027-2033 for an effectively exiled player would be far more destructive to the Rays franchise. They really need a conviction to stick in this case.
 

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That was my thought as well: the Bauer payout was "only money" to the Dodgers to make the issue go away from their four walls, but paying an empty $25 million/year from 2027-2033 for an effectively exiled player would be far more destructive to the Rays franchise. They really need a conviction to stick in this case.
The Rays will go scorched earth not to pay this. It’s like if the Sox had signed Yamamoto to a $300m contract and then he and Devers both got arrested and the Sox had to eat both contracts simultaneously.
 

jayhoz

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None of this is good, but I have to say the the money laundering charge has me very curious. I understand that Dominican law might be quite different than our laws, but typically money laundering includes some aspect of large amounts of illegally gotten, sums of untaxable money being moved in a way to appear legal. If the law there is similar in that regard I have to wonder what else Wander may have been up to outside of the already disgusting stuff he's been accused of.
It has been reported that WF's mother paid the mother of the 14 year old. Could it be as simple as WF laundering payments to the 14 year old's mother through his mother? Not super sophisticated, but maybe meets the legal definition of money laundering?
 

jayhoz

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I thought players only got paid during the season, so not in spring training or the offseason? I think that changed for the MiLB players, but I didn't think it had for the major leaguers. Service time would be the same right? If they put him back on administrative leave at the beginning of next season, wouldn't that mean he wouldn't get paid or accrue any service time ever again if they just keep putting him back on leave? I don't know if they can do that forever, but I this sounds like it's just a technicality.
I haven't looked this up lately, but this is also my understanding of when players get paid.
 

trekfan55

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Seems highly unlikely that a direct quote from a conversation between a minor and a therapist would be made public, but stranger things have happened.
Absolutely, will look into some Dominican articles some time today to get more details (of the accusation itself).

It has been reported that WF's mother paid the mother of the 14 year old. Could it be as simple as WF laundering payments to the 14 year old's mother through his mother? Not super sophisticated, but maybe meets the legal definition of money laundering?
Virtually any payment that he made to her without enough details could be characterized as money laundering under the current laws passed in different countries (at the behest of the US). So if I pay my plumber in cash or directly to him without a supporting invoice for whatever work he did in my house (not an uncommon practice) and it's a sufficiently large amount of money, both of our accounts could be flagged under money laundering laws.

In her case deposits of more than 10,000 US$ (or the equivalent in RD$) were made to her account and I am pretty sure there is no underlying documentation for them so once the investigation started this becomes part of it. Hell, we may never know but it might be that which blew the case open (bank flagged it, authorties started questioning, details came out) 1000% speculation on my part.
 

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The reporting is that this was presented in court as part of the indictment or whatever DR judicial process was happening. Hector Gomez is pretty reliable on this stuff and is putting the same thing out there.

https://x.com/hgomez27/status/1742758387111092251?s=46&t=VOPklDq0ggmwM6zlZRv9_g
This is being confirmed all over the place today. Here’s an article (en espanol) with a bunch of details and some of the timeline of the investigation. Girl was pissed that the mother was keeping all the money for herself so she outed Wander on social media.

https://www.diariolibre.com/actualidad/justicia/2024/01/04/denuncia-de-menor-salpicha-a-su-madre-y-a-wander-franco/2567895
 

Marciano490

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De igual manera, una investigación financiera en las cuentas de la madre de la adolescente determinó que había recibido dos transferencias de RD$500 mil cada una en una misma fecha, de la madre de Franco, Nancy Yudelka Aybar, quien también está siendo imputada de hechos delictivos, pero en otro expediente.

If they have actual records of transfers from Wander’s mom to the girl’s that’s got to be enough to keep him out of baseball forever.
 

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De igual manera, una investigación financiera en las cuentas de la madre de la adolescente determinó que había recibido dos transferencias de RD$500 mil cada una en una misma fecha, de la madre de Franco, Nancy Yudelka Aybar, quien también está siendo imputada de hechos delictivos, pero en otro expediente.

If they have actual records of transfers from Wander’s mom to the girl’s that’s got to be enough to keep him out of baseball forever.
Out of MLB. The only question would seem to be whether the Rays can get out of the contract.
 

Marciano490

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I imagine that’s partly why they’re looking at the money laundering angle. Might end up easier to prove in whatever jurisdiction.
 

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The Rays are pretty familiar with the ins and outs of DR corruption thru the academy they set up down there to steer DR prospects their way. Hopefully they are working every angle to keep the prosecutors motivated.
 

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Out of MLB. The only question would seem to be whether the Rays can get out of the contract.
Which is likely only a question if he's acquitted or somehow charges are dropped. I would expect his arrest and having to stay in the D.R. for the legal process would allow the Rays to place him on the restricted list (no pay) rather than administrative leave for the duration. A conviction probably gives them grounds to void the contract, but if not, the restricted list while he serves time accomplishes more or less the same thing. Perhaps if his sentence runs out before his contract expires, MLB can step in and suspend him for the remainder.
 

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Which is likely only a question if he's acquitted or somehow charges are dropped. I would expect his arrest and having to stay in the D.R. for the legal process would allow the Rays to place him on the restricted list (no pay) rather than administrative leave for the duration. A conviction probably gives them grounds to void the contract, but if not, the restricted list while he serves time accomplishes more or less the same thing. Perhaps if his sentence runs out before his contract expires, MLB can step in and suspend him for the remainder.
MLB could give him a lifetime ban and that would get the Rays off the hook. I haven’t seen anything about how much jail time he might be facing, but he’s got 10 years left on his contract and it’s backloaded, so even if he got sent away for 3-4 years, he could in theory still be out and able to report to work to collect a huge chunk of change. In the past, felony convictions haven’t gotten teams out of contracts, so this could be a case to try to explore whether there is any level of misconduct that would overcome precedent.
 

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MLB could give him a lifetime ban and that would get the Rays off the hook. I haven’t seen anything about how much jail time he might be facing, but he’s got 10 years left on his contract and it’s backloaded, so even if he got sent away for 3-4 years, he could in theory still be out and able to report to work to collect a huge chunk of change. In the past, felony convictions haven’t gotten teams out of contracts, so this could be a case to try to explore whether there is any level of misconduct that would overcome precedent.
We know that many/most MLB contracts have various clauses where certain activities can cause a contract to become voided. I'll go out on a limb and suggest that the sort of behavior that Franco's being accused of should be on that list.
 

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This is being confirmed all over the place today. Here’s an article (en espanol) with a bunch of details and some of the timeline of the investigation. Girl was pissed that the mother was keeping all the money for herself so she outed Wander on social media.

https://www.diariolibre.com/actualidad/justicia/2024/01/04/denuncia-de-menor-salpicha-a-su-madre-y-a-wander-franco/2567895
Holy crap that article is ugly and creepy.

Wander Franco should never see the light of day again, let alone a baseball diamond.

Durante una entrevista posterior con una psicóloga forense del Inacif, la adolescente confesó que el imputado Wander Franco "quien es mi exnovio le regaló un vehículo a mi madre porque el quería arreglar el daño emocional que en un momento le hizo a mi madre al sacarme de su casa sin el consentimiento de ella una noche. Eso pasó el 9 de diciembre del año pasado (2022)".
During a follow-up interview with the forensic psychologist from Inacif, the teenager confessed that Wander Franco"who is my ex-boyfriend, gave a car to my mother because he wanted to fix the emeotional damage he caused her at some time when he took me out of her house without her consent one night. That was on Dec 9 of last year (2022)

The bolded parts correspond to the bolded parts in the Spanish quote. BTW took her out of the house sounds like takeing her out on a date I guess?
 

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Holy crap that article is ugly and creepy.
Other articles from the same source have the following allegations:

He was 22 and she "barely" 14.​
There was a 4 month relationship.​
Franco's mother paid the girl's mother two transfers of RD$500 thousand each on the same day (leading to money laundering charges all around.)​
Other monies possibly in play here:​
-RD$800 thousand and US$68,500 hidden in the house,​
-a Suzuki Swift vehicle, model 2023,​
-a title of a property of RD$2.1 million.​
Prosecutors believe that 3 days after the social media post that broke the story, the girl's mother lodged a complaint with their office in an attempt to "divert attention."​
The girl was examined by a psychologist and a medical doctor; she claims Wander was her boyfriend and shows signs of possibly being sexually active (about as neutral as one can frame it for the main board.)​
My impression (still) is that he's pretty toasty. Most of the "soft" defenses or common mitigating factors would not apply - this isn't alleged to be a one-night-stand. Any testimony about actual sexual activity would be corroborated by other evidence including the payments (as opposed to being complicated.)

There's a significant money trail amongst multiple individuals. Generally the more pressure points there are, the more likely other information will get shaken loose. (I don't expect close family to flip, but multiple witnesses means it's more likely someone will slip.)
 

Marciano490

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Other articles from the same source have the following allegations:

He was 22 and she "barely" 14.​
There was a 4 month relationship.​
Franco's mother paid the girl's mother two transfers of RD$500 thousand each on the same day (leading to money laundering charges all around.)​
Other monies possibly in play here:​
-RD$800 thousand and US$68,500 hidden in the house,​
-a Suzuki Swift vehicle, model 2023,​
-a title of a property of RD$2.1 million.​
Prosecutors believe that 3 days after the social media post that broke the story, the girl's mother lodged a complaint with their office in an attempt to "divert attention."​
The girl was examined by a psychologist and a medical doctor; she claims Wander was her boyfriend and shows signs of possibly being sexually active (about as neutral as one can frame it for the main board.)​
My impression (still) is that he's pretty toasty. Most of the "soft" defenses or common mitigating factors would not apply - this isn't alleged to be a one-night-stand. Any testimony about actual sexual activity would be corroborated by other evidence including the payments (as opposed to being complicated.)

There's a significant money trail amongst multiple individuals. Generally the more pressure points there are, the more likely other information will get shaken loose. (I don't expect close family to flip, but multiple witnesses means it's more likely someone will slip.)
Nice job on the neutral language; that article was surprisingly specific.
 

Rovin Romine

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Also as a PS. . .I'm now wondering if there are one or two underage victims. Maybe it was always only one, but the mother filing her own complaint was leaked as a second possible victim?

Anyone have thoughts on that re: the timing?
 

jayhoz

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Are we sure of another victim as this point and if that mother was an active participant?
I was referring to Wander's mother for making payments and the victim's mother for.....a whole lot of yuck.
 
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trekfan55

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And just so you guys know, the DR is a horrible place in terms of underage sex for sale.