Ex-Wolves analyst pleads guilty to computer crime

Ex-Wolves analyst pleads guilty to computer crime
  • Baxter Holmes, ESPN Senior WriterJun 27, 2024, 01:36 PM ET


      Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) is a senior writer for ESPN Digital and Print, focusing on the NBA. He has covered the Lakers, the Celtics and previously worked for The Boston Globe and Los Angeles Times.

A former Minnesota Timberwolves employee pled guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized computer access, according to court records reviewed by ESPN, after being fired and arrested in March for allegedly stealing thousands of internal files, including “strategic NBA information,” from a Timberwolves team executive.

Somak Sarkar, 33, also faced a felony third-degree burglary charge, but that charge will be dismissed at his July 9 sentencing, according to an official from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in Minneapolis. Sarkar previously served as a coaching analyst for the Timberwolves.

His attorney declined to comment.

In a statement, the team said: “The Minnesota Timberwolves will not be commenting on legal proceedings related to former employees.”

Previously, a source told ESPN that the team wouldn’t pursue criminal charges against Sarkar.

According to the initial complaint, Sachin Gupta, a Timberwolves executive vice president who oversees the team’s analytics department, left a hard drive connected to a laptop in his office at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis on Feb. 2.

That drive contained Gupta’s personal financial information as well as private information for the team, including employment and player contracts.

When Gupta returned to work on Feb. 5, the hard drive was missing, and subsequent surveillance reviewed by security revealed that Sarkar had twice entered Gupta’s office on Feb. 3 “after looking to see if anyone could see him,” the complaint stated. “He then left.”

Sarkar was fired immediately, the complaint stated.

Another employee was able to recover the hard drive from Sarkar, and the team determined, after a forensic analysis, that he had accessed more than 5,000 files and downloaded them onto another device.

Sarkar was arrested, and police executed a search warrant at his home, where they found several hard drives, a computer and three tablets. A second warrant revealed that one of the devices contained information from Gupta’s hard drive.

When questioned by police, Sarkar said at the time that, as a member of the coaching staff, he had the hard drive “to put some stuff on it,” but he forgot to return it.

The complaint noted Sarkar had been transferred out of Gupta’s department in August 2023 and to the coaching staff because of poor job performance.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Sarkar joined the Timberwolves in August 2021 and previously worked in analytics-related roles at the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans. He also worked as a basketball operations intern for the Houston Rockets from October 2012 to June 2013.

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