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Former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director gets 46 months in prison for hacking rival team

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MLB: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Christopher Correa, former scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals, has been sentenced to 46 months in jail for hacking into the rival Houston Astros’ email and database systems to see player profiles, draft picks, and other confidential information.

Early this year, Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer, carried out while serving as director of baseball development for the Cardinals. He admitted to having gotten into Astros employees’ email accounts and the team’s Ground Control database, where he accessed information like trade discussions, player evaluations, notes on potential draft choices, and contract details. In addition to jail time, he’s ordered to pay $279,038 in restitution for what prosecutors claimed was a $1.7 million "intended loss" for the Astros.

Correa joined the Cardinals in 2009, and he was promoted to director in 2013, the same year that the first hack occurred. In court, Correa claimed that he had carried it out because he suspected that the Astros had "misappropriated" work from him and his colleagues, and was hoping to investigate. He reportedly got access through the account of a former Cardinals employee who had left to work for the Astros, but used a similar password for user accounts with both teams — based on "the name of a player who was scrawny and who would not have been thought to succeed in the major leagues, but through effort and determination he succeeded anyway." Once inside, Correa repeated his intrusions throughout 2013 and 2014, even after the Astros attempted to tighten security on the Ground Control system and reset all passwords.

The Cardinals fired Correa in mid-2015, after the allegations surfaced. No other employees have been charged alongside him, and the Associated Press reports that while Major League Baseball has said it looked forward to getting details on the case from authorities, it has not disciplined or censured the team at this point. Correa, meanwhile, said he was "overwhelmed with remorse and regret" in court before his sentencing. "I behaved shamefully," he said. "The whole episode represents the worst thing I've done in my life by far."