RealTime IT News

Feds Charge HP Investigator

A Colorado private investigator faces federal identity theft charges for his part in last year's Hewlett-Packard boardroom spy scandal.

The two-count indictment charges Bryan Wagner with using a journalist's Social Security number to illegally access phone records. U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan said that Wagner established Yahoo and Hotmail accounts in order to obtain the online account access for the phone records. In addition, the indictment charges Wagner with conspiracy for exchanging this information with Boston-based Security Outsourcing Solutions (SOS).

The indictment, filed in San Jose, Calif., federal court, outlines a complicated trail of engagement that started with HP and ended with Wagner.

SOS, which HP hired to collect the phone records of board members, employees and journalists, contracted with Melbourne, Fla.-based information provider Action Research Group (ARG) for help in responding to HP's request. ARG then hired Wagner, who had worked for ARG previously, to do the leg work.

In October, Wagner, SOS owner Ronald DeLia and ARG owner Matthew Depante were arraigned in Santa Clara County Superior Court on identity theft, wire fraud, misuse of computer data and conspiracy charges.

Patricia Dunn, HP's former chairman, and Kevin Hunsaker, HP's former senior lawyer were earlier arraigned on the same charges. Dunn later plead not guilty.

HP was rocked last year after it was discovered the company engaged in an internal investigation into leaks surrounding boardroom negotiations. As part of the internal investigation, HP officials approved the use of pretexting, a method employing deception to obtain private information.