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We didn't know his name at the time, but we knew his work. Last summer, the FBI began investigating the St. Louis Cardinals after an employee clumsily hacked into the Houston Astros scouting database. And we use the word "hacked" loosely here: the criminal mastermind simply logged in using the database creator's password after he switched teams from the Astros to the Cardinals, and did it all from a Cardinals employee's house.
Now we know who that employee is -- ex scouting director Chris Correa -- and what his punishment will be -- almost four years in federal prison.
Houston, We Have a Problem
Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer from 2013 to 2014. He was facing five years for each count, but was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes to 46 months in federal prison. "The loss is that every baseball team has much tighter security, making it harder for honest people to go about their daily lives," Hughes said. "A lot of little people whose lives were adversely affected by the cost taken to defend against people like you."
Prosecutors say Correa used the credentials of a former Cardinals employee (thought to be Jeff Luhnow who left St. Louis for Houston in 2011) to download the Astros' scouting list of every eligible player in the 2013 draft, and to read notes of trade discussions, a page that included potential bonus details, statistics, and notes on recent performances and injuries by team prospects. The Astros claim Correa's hack cost them $1.7 million, and as part of his sentence he will pay $279,038 in restitution.
Ground Control to Major League
While Correa's punishment has been settled, the team's may not be. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred hasn't said whether the league will punish the Cardinals for Correa's actions. But Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann reports that punishment could include "loss of draft picks, suspensions of team officials and fines assigned to the team and its officials."
The lesson, as always, is change your passwords, kids. And don't cheat at baseball.