Former Timberwolves analyst pleads guilty for stealing hard drive with proprietary data

The stolen info included player data, contract details and trade negotiations

Former Timberwolves analyst pleads guilty for stealing hard drive with proprietary data

A former Minnesota Timberwolves coaching analyst pled guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized computer access, ESPN reported.

Somak Sarkar was fired by the Timberwolves in March and arrested after allegedly stealing thousands of internal files from a team executive which included "strategic NBA information."

The original charges accused Sarkar of taking a hard drive belonging to Sachin Gupta, a Timberwolves executive vice president. The hard drive was connected to a laptop in Gupta's office when he left for the weekend and was missing when he returned on the following Monday.

Security footage showed Sarkar entering Gupta's office twice that Saturday, looking to make sure no one saw him, according to the criminal complaint. Sarkar was fired the following week.

Gupta is in charge of the Timberwolves' analytics department and had proprietary information — including player data, team decision-making, contract details and trade negotiations — that the front office would not want other teams to see, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Another team employee who was a friend of Sarkar got the hard drive back and returned it to Gupta. A subsequent forensic analysis showed that 5,700 files were copied from the device. Investigators also determined that Sarkar's computer was used to open the drive.

After Sarkar was arrested, a search warrant was executed at his home where police found several hard drives, a computer and three tablets. One of the devices searched had information from Gupta's hard drive, according to ESPN.

Gupta told police that Sarkar was moved to an analyst role with the coaching staff due to issues with his superior. But he was eventually transferred to another department due to poor job performance, the criminal complaint stated. Sarkar had previously worked in analytics with the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and New York Knicks.

Sarkar was also charged with third-degree felony burglary, but that will be dismissed as part of him pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge, according to his attorney. He will be sentenced and spared jail time in Hennepin County on July 9.