Security

Ex-Cardinals employee gets nearly 4 years in prison for Astros hack

Former baseball scouting director used ex-employee's password for a St. Louis Cardinals' laptop to guess his new password with the Houston Astros, prosecutors say.

A former employee of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball organization has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for hacking computers belonging to the Houston Astros, the US Justice Department said Monday.

Christopher Correa, the Cardinals' former scouting director, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison on Monday after pleading guilty to five counts of unauthorized access of an Astros' database on player information and the team's email system. Correa, who had worked for the Cardinals since 2009 before being fired last July, was also ordered to pay $279,038 in restitution.

Prosecutors say Correa in 2013 illegally accessed an Astros' file containing scout rankings for every player eligible for that year's draft. He also illegally viewed a page containing descriptions of performance and injuries of prospects under consideration by the Astros, as well as notes of Astros' trade discussions with other teams.

Correa, 36, was able to obtain an Astros employee's password after that person left the Cardinals organization to join the Astros. When he left, he had to turn in his Cards-owned laptop, along with its password. Using variations of that password, Correa was able to guess the Astros employee's new password.

Prosecutors did not identify the former Cardinals employee whose password was guessed, but Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow had previously worked for the Cardinals. Prosecutors said no one else has been charged in the hack, which cost the Astros an estimated $1.7 million.