Chris Correa, former scouting director of the St. Louis Cardinals, pleaded guilty in federal court to hacking into the player database and email system of the Houston Astros in an unusual case of high-tech cheating involving major-league teams.
Ex-Cardinals exec pleads guilty
The former scouting director of the St. Louis Cardinals pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to hacking into the player database and email system of the Houston Astros in an unusual case of high-tech cheating involving major-league teams.
Chris Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer from 2013 to at least 2014, the same year he was promoted to director of baseball development in St. Louis. Correa, 35, was fired last summer and faces up to five years in prison on each charge when he is sentenced April 11.
“I accept responsibility in this case,” Correa told U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes in Houston. “I trespassed repeatedly.”
“So you broke in their house?” Hughes asked Correa, referring to the Astros.
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“It was stupid,” replied Correa, who is free on $20,000 bond.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said the hacking cost the Astros about $1.7 million, taking into account how Correa used the Astros’ data to draft players.
“It has to do with the talent that was on the record that they were able to have access to, that they wouldn’t have otherwise had access to,” he told reporters.
MLB officials could discipline the Cardinals, possibly with a fine or a loss of draft picks. They said they looked forward to getting details on the case from federal authorities.
The FBI said Correa was able to gain access using a password similar to that used by a Cardinals employee who “had to turn over his Cardinals-owned laptop to Correa along with the laptop’s password” when he was leaving for a job with the Astros in 2011. The employee was not identified, though Jeff Luhnow left St. Louis for Houston in December of that year and is the general manager of the Astros.
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