A former Chicago White Sox scouting executive was indicted on federal fraud charges Wednesday for allegedly accepting kickbacks from signing bonuses and contract buyouts, targeting players from impoverished parts of Latin America hungry to play in the U.S.
David Wilder and former scouts Jorge L. Oquendo Rivera and Victor Mateo, who worked for the team in Latin America, are accused of accepting about $400,000 to secure 23 prospects between 2004 and 2008, according to the indictment released by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago.
“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 Grant, of the FBI’s Chicago office.
Wilder, 50, of San Francisco, is charged with seven counts of mail fraud.
Wilder, whom the White Sox fired as director of player personnel in 2008, and the scouts are accused of secretly inflating signing bonuses of prospects, then kicking back the money they added on.
REDS TRIO GOLDEN
Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen won his eighth Gold Glove, one of three Reds players so honored after the team’s first playoff appearance in 15 years. Second baseman Brandon Phillips and pitcher Bronson Arroyo also were among the National League recipients announced by Rawlings.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina and Philadelphia outfielder Shane Victorino each garnered their third Gold Glove in a row. Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez were first-time winners. Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols won for the second time (2006), and speedy Houston center fielder Michael Bourn was a repeat winner.
COMING TO AMERICA
Shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka and closer Hiroyuki Kobayashi of the Japan Series-winning Chiba Lotte Marines say they want to play in the major leagues next season.
Nishioka said he intends to move to the majors via the posting system – where teams bid for negotiating rights to players who are not free agents – while Kobayashi will try to sign as a free agent.
Venezuelan amateurs Ruben Alvarado, Fabian Marquea, Osmir Medina, Serio Nieves, Omar Viloria and Jose Ramon Weffer were declared ineligible to sign with major league teams for one year after the commissioner’s office found they committed age or identity fraud. Yankees catcher Jorge Posada had arthroscopic surgery to repair a small tear in the meniscus of his left knee. Oakland acquired outfielder David DeJesus from Kansas City for right-hander Vin Mazzaro and a minor leaguer. Jeff Francoeur became a free agent after refusing a minor league assignment from the Texas Rangers.