ST. LOUIS (CN) – A former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director pleaded guilty Friday for his role in a hacking scandal.
Chris Correa, 35, pleaded guilty in a Houston federal court to five counts of unauthorized access to a protected computer. Correa was fired by the Cardinals in July after details of the hacking emerged.
Correa admitted to accessing the accounts of three Houston Astros employees, including information about prospects, Astros scouting reports and trade discussions.
Correa claimed he was attempting to see if former Cardinals employees, including current Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, took proprietary information from the Cardinals. Correa admitted to taking measures to conceal his identity, the location of his computer and that the “intended loss” for all of the hacking was about $1.7 million.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a telephone interview after the hearing that Correa claims he found that the Astros had proprietary information belonging to the Cardinals. But Magidson said that allegation doesn’t mean anything to the investigation into the hacking, it just points to motive.
The Astros denied Correa’s allegations in a statement.
“This is a difficult day for all of Major League Baseball,” the Astros said. “The Astros refute Mr. Correa’s statement that our database contained any information that was proprietary to the St. Louis Cardinals. We have a great amount of respect for Bill DeWitt and the Cardinals organization. And, we are confident that Commissioner (Rob) Manfred will guide MLB through this process in the best way possible.”
Luhnow ironically held the same position as Correa with the Cardinals before being hired by the Astros. Luhnow took several Cardinals employees with him to Houston, prompting concerns, Correa claims, that they took information from the Cardinals database and used it for the Astros’ benefit.
The Cardinals did not have a comment, according to the Post-Dispatch.
It is unclear what disciplinary actions the MLB commissioner’s office will take against the Cardinals.
“We anticipate that the authorities will share with us the results of their investigation at the appropriate time, and we will determine what further actions to take after receiving all the relevant information,” MLB said in a statement.
Correa was charged on Dec. 22, but the allegations were sealed until his appearance in court on Friday.
Correa will be released on a $20,000 bond. He faces up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 for each charge.
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