Former STL Cardinals Scouting Director Gets Jail Time For Illegally Accessing Astros Scouting Database

from the the-cardinal-way dept

If you’ll recall, early on this year we wrote about the very strange story in which the at-the-time scouting director for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chris Correa, used the old passwords of a former employee who had since taken a job with the Houston Astros to break into the opposing team’s scouting database. The actions were fairly brazen, leading many to wonder how in the world Correa thought he was going to get away with this. The government charged him under the CFAA, to which Correa pleaded guilty. At the time, I concluded the post guessing that Correa, given his standing and the fact that he isn’t named Aaron Swartz, would get off with minimal if any jail time.

Well, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. While Correa didn’t get anything like the half-a-century jail time that the feds had threatened Swartz with, he is getting nearly four years worth of jail time, which is much more than I had expected.

Chris Correa, the former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director who illegally accessed the Houston Astros database known as Ground Control, was sentenced to 46 months in prison today in Houston federal court.

Correa, who was fired by the Cardinals in July 2015, pleaded guilty in January to five counts of unauthorized access of a computer. According to prosecutors, Correa used an old password of a former Cardinals employee, who took a job with the Astros, to log into Ground Control and download the Astros’ scouting reports, information on possible MLB draftees, and other notes. Correa has also been assessed a fine of $279,038. Prosecutors valued the damage done to the Astros from his actions at $1.7 million.

Without wanting to dance on another human being’s jail sentence, I will say there is something slightly satisfying in seeing this case conclude with real jail time, as opposed to some kind of slap on the wrist. It does nothing to soften the still gaping wounds stemming from the Swartz tragedy, of course. Still, so much of the time we see laws like the CFAA applied in the most haphazard way, whereas this was about as perfect an application for it as I can think of.

Somehow the rest of the Cardinals organization has skated by unscathed. The Cardinal Way and all that, I guess.

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Companies: houston astros, mlb, st. louis cardinals

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Comments on “Former STL Cardinals Scouting Director Gets Jail Time For Illegally Accessing Astros Scouting Database”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: cruel and unusual punishment

I find this juxtaposition equally troubling. This could have been settled by fining the Cardinals (with the amount set high enough to be a deterrent to others) and without using taxpayer dollars to send yet another person to prison.

Brock Turner, on the other hand, is a sociopath (and the son of a sociopath) and should be locked up somewhere where he gets violently raped every single day for the next 20 years.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: cruel and unusual punishment

I would add, we have lots of screwed up sentencing IMHO. You can do physical harm or death to someone and get a lot less time than doing virtual or monetary harm. I think we need a panel to sit down with the criminal code and weigh the actual harm against the penalty and get them in line.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The opening is written confusingly, and it stumped me initially, but the older articles are clearer. As I understand it the sequence of events is this:

– Employee leaves Cardinals and is ordered to give his laptop to Correa along with its password.
– Employee joins Astros, and uses a similar (but apparently not identical) password for his account there.
– Correa later gains access to former employee’s account by correctly guessing the variation used on the old password.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the competence of the Astros’ IT policies.

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