David Wilder, a former athlete who was Director of Player Development for the Chicago White Sox in 2004 and Director of Minor League Operations for the Chicago Cubs in 1996, pled guilty to one count of mail fraud today. As detailed by our own George Castle just a few months ago, Wilder was indicted in November for allegedly taking kickbacks of about $400,000 from signing bonuses and contract buyouts involving 23 Latin-American players. He was working for the White Sox at the time of the alleged wrongdoings but was fired by the team in 2008 following an investigation.â†µ
The case is being heard here in Chicago by U.S. District Court judge Charles Norgle, who has yet to set a sentencing date. Wilder has been released on bond and is expected to return to his home in California. The Chicago Tribune quotes Wilder as saying during today's hearing, "I understand what I have done." The two other scouts indicted at the same time, Jorge Oquendo Rivera and Victor Mateo, still face charges.
The world of baseball scouting is a shadowy realm -- especially outside of U.S. borders. But Wilder's case has shed some cold light on the potential for fraud and likely sent a chill through every MLB team's front office. The FBI has been reportedly investigating several other teams' scouting-related transactions, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals.