Appearing in a Houston federal district court, former St. Louis Cardinals Scouting Director Chris Correa plead guilty and was indicted on five counts of unauthorized access to computer information today. Each count can carry a prison sentence of up to five years and a $250,000 fine plus restitution.
“The sentences will run concurrently,” shared David Barron, who covered the hearing for the Houston Chronicle. A hearing for the sentencing will be held April 11th.
Correa joined the Cardinals in 2009 and after working in statistical analysis, was promoted to Manager of Baseball Development in 2012 and later named Director of the department. He was named the Scouting Director in December of 201 and had previously maintained he hacked into the Houston system only to see if they had wrongly used proprietary information belonging to St. Louis.
“Stupid, I know” he said in court, according to Barron–who added that Judge Lynn Hughes surmised as “you broke into their house to find if they were stealing your stuff.”
According to the charges filed by the US Attorney, when “Victim A” left the Cardinals in 2011 he turned in his team-owned laptop to Correa–including the password. When that individual joined Houston, Correa used a similar password to hack into Victim A’s email and access the Houston Astros database. From March of 203 to the end of June 2014 he viewed and downloaded scouting reports, draft rankings, trade notes, and many other confidential documents of the Astros.
One of the counts took place on March 24, 2013 when Correa downloaded an Excel file of Houston’s scouting list of every player eligible for that year’s draft and how each Astros scout had ranked them.
Another occurred on July 31, 2013 before the non-waiver trade deadline when Correa accessed the account to view the Astros notes on their trade discussions with other teams.
“He got across his level of contrition in the minimum number of words required to do so,” said Barron of Correa’s demeanor in the courtroom. “He did not throw himself on the mercy of the court, but neither was he defiant. I think basically he answered the questions that were asked of him in a business-like fashion.”
The 35-year old Correa earned a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science from Hampshire College, a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Illinois, and was a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan prior to joining the Cardinals organization.