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Ex-White Sox exec gets 2 years in prison for skimming bonuses

Former Chicago White Sox executive David Wilder February 2011 as enters Dirksen Federal Building downtown Chicago. | Sun-Times files

Former Chicago White Sox executive David Wilder in February 2011 as enters the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago. | Sun-Times files

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Former White Sox senior director of player development David Wilder was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday for his involvement in the bonus skimming scheme that significantly set back Sox scouting initiatives in Latin America for several years.

The scheme took more than $440,000 in kickbacks from 23 Latin American players as they were signed from December 2004 to February 2008.

U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle in Chicago handed down the punishment and ordered Wilder to pay the team $440,781 in restitution.

Wilder, who also worked for the Cubs as an assistant general manager and farm director before he spent five years with the Sox as director of player development and senior director of player personnel, pleaded guilty to a single mail fraud count in 2011.

Two Sox Latin American scouts were also charged and later entered guilty pleas. Jorge Oquendo Rivera was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and Victor Mateo will be sentenced in September. Both pleaded guilty.

Wilder was originally hired by the Sox as a special assistant to then GM Ken Williams in 2003. He had served as an adviser to Williams and was a trusted friend.

The Sox released this statement today:

“The Chicago White Sox appreciate today’s judgment and sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Norgle. This has been a painful betrayal for the team, and while the White Sox organization has moved on during the intervening years, it is a relief to have closed this final chapter today. The White Sox would like to thank the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations for their roles in compiling evidence and in seeing this prosecution through to today’s completion. We believe the sentence handed down today by the court stands by itself and requires no additional comment from the White Sox beyond this statement.”

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