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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?