A third former White Sox scout has admitted to being involved in a kickback scheme involving Latin American prospects.
Jorge Oquendo Rivera pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of mail fraud in a Chicago federal court. In his plea agreement, according to the Chicago Tribune, prosecutors alleged Oquendo admitted taking kickbacks from 17 players and sent his boss, former White Sox director of player personnel David Wilder, $20,000 to $25,000 from an unnamed Brazilian player’s $213,500 bonus around December 2005.
A November 2010 indictment charged Wilder and former White Sox Latin American scouts Oquendo and Victor Mateo with receiving kickbacks from approximately 23 players totaling nearly $400,000 from around December 2004 through February 2008. In February, Wilder pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and admitted receiving a kickback. Mateo pleaded guilty to mail fraud in March.
In the kickback scheme, according to the government, Wilder, Oquendo and Mateo conspired to artificially inflate the value of Latin American amateur players. The indictment alleged that the three would have discussions with prospective players and their representatives to coordinate the amount of money the player would receive and the amount he was expected to kick back to the White Sox scouts. The government also alleged that Oquendo had similar conversations with unnamed Mexican League teams to coordinate the same type of kickback schemes.
Oquendo is free on bail but is scheduled for a March 7 sentencing.
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