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Ex-White Sox scout admits taking kickbacks from Latin American prospects

A former White Sox scout who worked in the Dominican Republic pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he took part in a scheme that inflated prospects’ signing bonuses to get kickbacks.

Victor Mateo, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, but he said he was told by his superiors to request the fraudulent inflated bonuses. He has agreed to cooperate.

The plea makes him the second of three people to admit guilt in a scandal that shook the baseball club.

Mateo, who lives in the Dominican Republic, said Thursday he wanted “to give my apologies to the jury and to the United States.”

Former White Sox executive David Wilder already has pleaded guilty to mail fraud, admitting he took kickbacks from signing bonuses and contract buyouts given to secure Latin American prospects between December 2004 and February 2008.

In his plea deal, Wilder alleged that Mateo and another defendant, Jorge Oquendo Rivera, negotiated both the signing bonuses and the kickback schemes with prospective players, Mexican baseball teams and representatives of both.

It was Mateo’s first appearance in court since last year’s charges.

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