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White Sox Scandal: Ex-scouts, exec charged with fraud

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

 

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A federal grand jury has indicted a former White Sox executive and two team scouts on charges they took kickbacks from signing bonuses in Latin America.

The seven-count indictment, which was handed down in Chicago Wednesday, accuses the three men of taking kickbacks totaling $400,000 from 23 prospective players between December 2004 and February 2008. (Read the Full Indictment)

Named in the indictment:

  • David S. Wilder, the White Sox farm system director from late 2003 to 2006 and the team's senior director of player personnel until May 2008, faces seven counts of mail fraud;
  • Jorge L. Oquendo Rivera, the White Sox Latin American scout between November 2004 and October 2007, faces seven counts of mail fraud;
  • Victor Mateo, a White Sox scout in the Dominican Republic between November 2006 and May 2008, was charged with three counts of mail fraud.

"The defendants were supposed to recruit players by paying amounts of money that matched their skills and were no greater than the amount needed to sign the players. Instead, the indictment alleges that the defendants secretly inflated those signing amounts to fund kickbacks for themselves," said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, in a statement.

"These defendants allegedly defrauded their employer and enriched themselves by taking advantage of vulnerable ballplayers, who were anxious to pursue their dreams of stardom in the major leagues" said Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in a statement.

Wilder, 50, of San Francisco, and Oquendo, 49, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, are expected to voluntarily appear for arraignment at a later date to be determined in U.S. District Court in Chicago. A domestic arrest warrant was issued for Mateo, 39, of Arroyo Hondo, Dominican Republic, according to a statement.

Authorities said they began the investigation after internal findings from the White Sox were turned over.

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