Dunn, four others, indicted in HP scandal

Former HP Chairman Patricia Dunn, four others have been indicted on charges related to the spy scandal

Ousted Hewlett-Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn, a former company lawyer, and three outside investigators were charged Wednesday in California on felony charges related to the conduct of an investigation to track down news leaks from the HP board that allegedly broke state law.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's office said charges have also been filed against Kevin Hunsaker, a former senior lawyer at HP; Ronald L. DeLia, a Boston-area private detective; Matthew DePante, manager of Action Research Group, a Florida-based information broker; and Bryan Wagner, a Colorado man who is said to have obtained private phone records while working for Action Research. The charges were announced at a press conference held Wednesday at the California Department of Justice.

The charges include using false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information from a public utility, wrongful use of computer data, identity theft, and conspiracy to commit each of those crimes. All of the charges are felonies.

"One of our state's most venerable corporate institutions lost its way as its board sought to find out who leaked confidential information to the press," said Lockyer in a statement, released Wednesday. "In this misguided effort, people inside and outside of HP violated privacy rights and broke state law."

Lockyer's office has been investigating the spying allegations because HP is based in Palo Alto, California. The U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been conducting separate investigations of HP.

In a statement released Wednesday in advance of the Sacramento press conference, HP said it was continuing to cooperate with state and federal investigators.

The private investigators hired by HP allegedly used "pretexting," pretending to be someone they are not, to obtain the telephone records of HP directors, other employees and journalists who cover the company in an attempt to find out who from the board provided information to the reporters.

The scandal has attracted the attention of the U.S. Congress. On Sept. 28, Dunn told the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that she believed employees and lawyers who said that the HP's leak investigation complied with the company's standards of conduct.

The subcommittee was holding hearings into the use of pretexting. The committee passed a federal ban on pretexting but the Congress adjourned before the full House or the Senate voted on the legislation.

When questioned about the techniques used to track down the leaks arose in the latter part of the investigation, Dunn said, she passed concerns to company Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd. Before then, the company's lawyers had assured her the techniques were being done "legally and properly," she said.

"At no time in the investigation did I authorize its methods," Dunn said. "I asked this to be done in the HP standard way."

On his part, Hurd told the subcommittee that he was not aware of the details of the techniques being used. He said he did not read a report from the investigating team that detailed the use of pretexting.

Ann Baskins, who resigned right before the subcommittee hearing as HP's senior vice president and general counsel, and Hunsaker both asserted their rights not to testify under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution during the hearing.

Also taking the fifth before the subcommittee were Delia, Wagner and Action Research owner Joe DePante.

Dunn faces these criminal charges at a difficult time in her personal life. Dunn, is scheduled to begin chemotherapy Friday for a recurrence of advanced ovarian cancer, according to a Wednesday report in the San Jose Mercury News. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2004 and had been treated for breast cancer and melanoma dating back to 2001, the paper reported.

(Stephen Lawson and Robert McMillan contributed to this story)

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert Mullins

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?