NEW YORK, NY - Facing a 50-game suspension for doping, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera created a phony website and a fake product in an attempt to dodge the ban by proving he inadvertently ingested a banned substance, according to a report.
The New York Daily News reported Sunday that Cabrera's ruse quickly came apart during the information-gathering phase of his doping case last month and has made the former MVP candidate a further target of Major League Baseball and federal investigators.
Cabrera, who tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone, apparently was eying a clause in Baseball's drug program allowing players to plead their innocence by proving they didn't knowingly take a banned substance.
Juan Nunez, an associate of Cabrera's, is alleged to have paid $10,000 for the fake website and has told the Daily News that he was "accepting responsibility for what everyone else already knows."
Nunez says Cabrera's agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, were not involved in the fake website scheme. Cabrera is described by the agents as a "paid consultant" at their firm, according to the paper. The agents also denied knowledge of the scheme.
Cabrera utilized the fake website as part of his presentation to MLB and the players' union arguing against his ban. According to the paper, investigators for MLB grew skeptical and discovered an existing website had been altered to add an advertisement for a topical cream that didn't exist.
The alleged plot resembles the case of disgraced journalist Stephen Glass, who created a fake website while he was under investigation by The New Republic for fabricating magazine articles in the 1990s.
Cabrera was having a career season. He was batting .346 with 11 homers, 60 RBI and a .390 on-base percentage in 113 games before his ban and was MVP of the All-Star Game last month.