St. Louis Cardinals Exec Pleads Guilty to Houston Astros Computer Hack

The former director of baseball development for the St. Louis Cardinals has entered a guilty plea in a Houston federal court to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer.

Christopher Correa, 35, of St. Louis, worked for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2009 to July 2015. He was named director of baseball development in 2013, with responsibility for providing analytical support to all areas of the sports organization.

The Cardinals and the Astros collect and analyze data from baseball games to look for areas of improvement and competitive advantage. The Astros housed all their proprietary data in an online database called Ground Control, which required a password-protected account to access. The Astros provided their employees with protected email accounts, which allowed them to access Ground Control.

In his plea agreement, Correa admitted that he accessed the Astros’ Ground Control database and email accounts from March 2013 to March 2014 in order to obtain the Astros’ proprietary information, which included player contract information, game statistics and scouting reports as well as other confidential data.

Correa admitted that he was able to obtain an Astros employee’s email password because the employee had previously been employed by the Cardinals. When the employee left the Cardinals for the Astros, he turned over his laptop and password to Correa. Correa was then able to access the Astros’ Ground Control database and email accounts by using a variation of the employee’s password when he was with the Cardinals.

Correa faces a maximum possible prison sentence of five years and a potential $250,000 fine for each of the five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer.

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