HP Insiders to Face Criminal Charges
California's attorney general will seek criminal indictments Wednesday
against former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairwoman Patricia Dunn and four
others involved in the corporate spying scandal, according to news
Citing people familiar with the case, The New York Times and
BusinessWeek reported that Ms. Dunn, Kevin Hunsaker, HP's ousted chief
ethics officer, and Ronald DeLia, a Boston-area private investigator,
would each face criminal charges. Two other outside investigators --
Joseph DePante of Melbourne, Fla. and Bryan Wagner of Littleton,
Colo. -- were also being charged, the Times said.
They each will face four felony charges: use of false or fraudulent
pretenses to obtain confidential information from a public utility;
unauthorized access to computer data; identity theft; and conspiracy
to commit each of those crimes.
The scandal erupted last month when HP disclosed that detectives it
hired to root out a series of boardroom leaks secretly obtained
detailed phone logs of directors, employees and journalists. The
detectives used a potentially criminal form of subterfuge known as
pretexting to masquerade as their targets and trick telephone
companies into turning over the records.
Dunn -- who initiated the investigation -- said she didn't know until
after the fact that the detectives went to such extremes to unearth
clues about the leaker's identity. She resigned from HP's board last
month amid the uproar over the spying campaign, which has also prompted
the resignation of two other board members.
Dunn, 53, who has survived breast cancer and melanoma, will begin
chemotherapy treatments for advanced ovarian cancer on Friday at the
University of California, San Francisco, according to a person close
to Dunn who asked to remain anonymous because a formal announcement
Lawyers for Dunn and the others expected to be charged did not
immediately return calls seeking comment. HP did not immediately
comment, nor did a spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
Hunsaker, who directed the investigation, left the company on
Sept. 26; DeLia runs a Boston-area detective firm called Security
Outsourcing Solutions, a longtime HP contractor commissioned to
conduct the leak probe.
DeLia in turn hired DePante's company to gather information, and
DePante hired Wagner to obtain the private phone records of HP
directors and journalists.
HP eventually identified director George Keyworth II as the source of
a leak to a Cnet Networks Inc. reporter. Keyworth resigned after the
scandal went public in early September.
Another director, venture capitalist Thomas J. Perkins, resigned from
the board in May after learning about the tactics used by HP's
investigators. He then pressured the company to publicly disclose the
reason for his departure, leading to the regulatory filing that
revealed the investigators' use of pretexting.
The FBI and a congressional panel are also looking into the HP
pretexting scandal. Dunn testified last week before the panel, saying
she didn't know about any potentially illegal tactics used in the
investigation and wasn't responsible for the probe.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
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