HP Investigators Arraigned in California

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Three of the outside investigators Hewlett-Packard hired to probe leaks of confidential information in its boardroom appeared at an arraignment hearing here today at the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

All three are charged with fraudulent wire communications, wrongful use of computer data, identify theft and conspiracy for their roles in the use of pretexting to obtain the personal call logs of HP  board members and journalists.

Pretexting involves assuming another person’s identity to obtain personal information about said person. The technique was the principal method used by the investigators to obtain the otherwise personal information.

Ronald DeLia, Matthew Depante and Bryan Wagner were released on their own recognizance.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer had sought bail of $50,000 each for DeLia and Wager and $100,000 for Depante, the owner of Florida-based Action Research Group.

Another hearing for the three investigators is set of November 17.

Kevin Hunsaker, a former HP senior lawyer, hired DeLia, the owner of Security Outsourcing Solutions, to help with HP’s search for telephone records.

DeLia, in turn, outsourced the actual investigation to Depante’s company. Wagner is a Colorado-based employee of Action Research Group.

Hunsaker and Patricia Dunn, HP’s former chairman, face the same charges as the private investigators. Hunsaker and Dunn were arraigned last week.

Lawyers for DeLia and Depante had no comment, but Wagner’s attorney, Stephen Naratil, said his client didn’t know anyone at HP and didn’t know he was investigating anyone at HP until he was charged.

Until today’s arraignment, Naratil said Wagner had never been to California.

“He was just doing his job,” said Naratil outside the courthouse.

Naratil said the legality of the investigation was still in question and that he was examining different state laws that might apply to pretexting.

HP admits pretexting was used in its investigation, but Dunn claims Hunsaker and former HP senior counsel Ann Baskins told her the technique was legal.

Dunn, Hunsaker and Baskins have all left HP since the scandal broke in early September.

At congressional hearings looking into the matter two weeks ago, Dunn agreed to testify about her role in the investigation, but Hunsaker, Baskins and the private investigators all invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.

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