Corporate Espionage in MLB: Astros Password Hack Results in Prison Time for Ex-Cardinals Director

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Christopher Correa, former Cardinals director of baseball development, was sentenced to nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of hacking into the computers and emails of Houston Astros employees. In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge Hughes also ordered him to pay $279,038 in restitution to the Astros.

In January, Mr. Correa admitted that from 2013 to at least 2014 he accessed the Astros database called “Ground Control” and emails to obtain scouting information. The hacks occurred after the Astros hired Jeff Luhnow from the Cardinals and developed Ground Control for the Astros.  The database incorporates relevant scouting information, including contract information, weekly scouting digests and Astros notes on trade discussions.  Mr. Correa admitted to unlawfully using the passwords of former unknown Cardinals employees to access “Ground Control” and emails on several occasions even after Astros had tightened their security.

In court, Correa regretted his actions. He stated: “I violated my values and it was wrong … I behaved shamefully. …The whole episode represents the worst thing I’ve done in my life by far.” Bill DeWitt Jr, owner of the Cards, however, called it “roguish behavior” by a couple of staff members.

On each of the count, Correa faced up to five years in prison. According to the plea agreement, Mr. Correa is allowed to serve the 46 months concurrently. No other (former) Cardinals employee has been charged.

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