Former White Sox director of player personnel Dave Wilder pleaded guilty today to federal charges of fraud in connection to skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars from international signing bonuses.
Appearing in federal court in Chicago, Wilder pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. His sentencing date has not yet been set.
Wilder, who had joined the White Sox in 2003, was in charge of supervising the White Sox's scouting efforts in Latin America. According to an FBI indictment, Wilder allegedly stole $402,000 in bonuses as part of a kickback scheme that lasted from December 2004 through February 2008. The White Sox fired Wilder and two other scouts in 2008 amidst the FBI investigation.
A November story in Baseball America includes the details of the FBI's claims against Wilder and the White Sox's bonus skimming system.
According to Bloomberg.com, assistant U.S. attorney Christopher Veatch told the U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle today that one of Wilder's kickbacks was a payment of more than $20,000 for a $300,000 signing from Brazil. While the FBI indictment does not name any players, the White Sox signed Brazilian righthander Tiago Calixto for $300,000 in February 2008. Calixto, 18 at the time of signing, has yet to make it out of the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League in three seasons, compiling a 5.40 ERA in 40 innings with 38 walks and 21 strikeouts.
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