Ex-Cardinals Scouting Director Chris Correa Pleads Guilty to Hacking Astros

Kyle Koster
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The St. Louis Cardinals made some history yesterday. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it came in the cyber-espionage department.

Chris Correa, the Cardinals former scouting director, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court to five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer and was released on $20,000 bail. As part of his plea, Correa admitted to using the accounts of three Houston Astros employees to view sensitive and confidential information such as scouting reports, amateur player evaluations, notes on trade discussions, and proposed bonuses for draft picks. The information he accessed was given an estimated value of $1.7 million by the U.S. Attorney’s office. He also admitting taking measures to conceal his identity.

Correa testified that his intention was to see if any former Cardinals personnel took any data with them after departing. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow previously worked for St. Louis.

The hacking scandal broke last summer. The overall lack of interest has been a bit surprising. If a similar situation played out in the NFL, it’s safe to assume it’d be getting wall-to-wall coverage.

According to a statement of charges filed by the U.S. attorney’s office, Mr. Correa accessed the Astros’ computer network repeatedly in 2013 and 2014. In March 2013, he downloaded an Excel file containing a list of every player eligible for that year’s amateur draft and how each Astros scout ranked them. In June, on the morning of the third day of the draft, Mr. Correa again viewed the Astros’ internal draft page, filtering results to view only players who had to be selected. He later viewed Houston’s internal notes on trade talks with other teams, scouting reports on potential draft picks and evaluations of international players the Astros were considering signing.

Correa faces penalties of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Rob Manfred has said Major League Baseball will wait until the FBI finishes its investigation until the league launches its own.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

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