A former St. Louis Cardinals executive will spend 46 months in federal prison for hacking into the Houston Astros' private computer system.
A federal judge in Houston sentenced Christopher Correa, the team's former director of baseball development, on Monday afternoon after he pleaded guilty to five counts of gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer.
Federal prosecutors alleged that between 2013 and 2014, Correa hacked into Astros databases to view scouting reports, draft picks, proposed signing bonuses and other inside information. Correa, 36, used the login credentials of a colleague who left the Cardinals to join the Astros to access the Houston team's files, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas said in a statement.
The Cardinals — who competed in the same division as the Astros until the Houston ball club moved to the American League in 2013 — fired Correa last summer as the FBI concluded its investigation into the hacking scandal. The feds found no evidence that other Cardinals brass participated in the hacking.
Correa's intrusions were far from pedestrian — the Astros reset their database passwords as a security precaution, prosecutors said, but Correa simply hacked into a team email account to retrieve the new login credentials. Shortly after, the feds said, Correa accessed 118 webpages containing "lists ranking the players whom Astros scouts desired in the upcoming draft, summaries of scouting evaluations and summaries of college players identified by the Astros’ analytics department as top performers."
On another occasion, Correa viewed documents discussing trade talks between the Astros and other teams.
At his sentencing Monday, Correa tried to apologize for his reckless behavior — until Judge Lynn N. Hughes interjected and stated Correa knew exactly what he was doing. Correa must also pay the team $279,000 in restitution, the judge ordered. Prosecutors said the parties in the case agreed the impact on the Astros of losing the proprietary information accessed by Correa was $1.7 million.
The Astros front office did not respond to a request for comment Monday. The team, meanwhile, continues to roll. The Astros walloped the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, 8-1, and drew within 4.5 games of the division-leading Texas Rangers.
Wonder if Correa will have MLB TV in prison?
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.