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Arrest Warrants Sought For Former HP Chair, Ethics Officer, Others

The California Attorney General's Office will arrange voluntary surrender for ex-HP chairman Patricia Dunn and the company's former ethics chief. The AG plans to arrange for the other three defendants, who live outside the state, to be arrested and extradited.

K.C. Jones

October 4, 2006

4 Min Read

Attorney General Bill Lockyer asked a California court to issue arrest warrants for former Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman Patricia Dunn and four other defendants Wednesday, alleging they committed crimes in HP's probe into boardroom leaks.

Lockyer's office announced that it would arrange voluntary surrender with lawyers for Dunn and former HP lawyer and ethics chief Kevin Hunsaker. Lockyer's office said it plans to arrange for the other three defendants, who live outside California, to be arrested and extradited to California to stand trial.

In a criminal complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court, Lockyer charged Dunn; Hunsaker; security contractor and manager of Security Outsourcing Solutions, Ron DeLia; manager of Florida-based information broker Action Research Group (ARG), Matthew DePante; and Colorado-based ARG employee Bryan Wagner with felonies in connection with pretexting.

They each face charges for allegedly engaging in fraudulent wire communications, wrongful use of computer data, identity theft, and conspiracy to commit those three crimes.

"One of our state's most venerable corporate institutions lost its way as its board sought to find out who leaked confidential company information to the press," Lockyer said. "In this misguided effort, people inside and outside HP violated privacy rights and broke state law. On behalf of Californians, who cherish privacy so much they enshrined the right in our state Constitution, those who crossed the legal line must be held accountable. That is my duty, and I will perform it in a manner that reflects the gravity and importance of this case."

Lockyer said the defendants used false and fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information, including records of phone bills belonging to 12 people. Lockyer said the victims included HP board members, their family members, and reporters and their family members.

The complaint accuses the defendants of willfully and knowingly accessing computerized telephone account information belonging to two HP board members and one journalist, without permission.

The identity theft portion of the complaint states that the defendants willfully obtained personal identifying information -- including names, phone numbers and Social Security numbers -- of 13 HP board members, journalists and family member and used the information for an unlawful purpose.

Though Dunn has repeatedly denied knowing the methods used by investigators, the complaint and supporting declaration explain that she and Hunsaker knew investigators obtained the records through false pretenses. The documents state that both Dunn and Hunsaker facilitated the continued use of illegal methods after learning of the activities, making both culpable for the crimes.

The complaint states that Dunn gave DeLia the home, cell and office phone numbers for HP board members in April 2005. Two months later, when DeLia briefed Dunn and former counsel Ann Baskins, Dunn learned "telephone records were obtained by ruse from telephone and cellular carriers," according to the complaint. In January 2006, with full knowledge of the methods used to obtain phone records, Dunn participated in renewing HP's leak probe, according to the complaint. She received regular briefings on its progress and therefore knew DeLia was again part of the team investigating the leak, according to Lockyer's documents. Dunn is reportedly scheduled to receive cancer treatment this week. She resigned because of the scandal.

Hunsaker also resigned.

The complaint states that Hunsaker knew in January 2006 that the outside investigators obtained phone records by ruse. After learning of the subterfuge, Hunsaker provided investigators with the home, cell and office phone numbers for HP officials, according to the complaint.

Dunn and Hunsaker hired DeLia to find the source of the boardroom leaks. DeLia hired ARG, managed by DePante, to obtain the phone records. The complaint states that DeLia knew ARG obtained records through false pretenses. Wagner worked for ARG and actually obtained the phone records illegally, through false pretenses, according to Lockyer.

Each of the four counts carry a maximum prison sentence of three years and fined up to $10,000, while conspiracy to commit identity theft can result in a $25,000 fine.

Several other related government investigations and inquiries are continuing. HP declined to comment on Wednesday's developments, except to say the company is continuing to cooperate with investigators.

Baskins resigned but has not been charged, nor has HP security chief Tony Gentilucci. CEO, President and new board chairman Mark Hurd, who claimed he was unaware of the probe's details, has not been charged either.

Lawyers for the defendants did not return calls Wednesday.

Former board member, Tom Perkins resigned in protest when details of the probe identified George Keyworth as the one who leaked information to the media. Keyworth initially refused to resign but later acquiesced, while maintaining that he spoke to reporters for the benefit of the company and was not leaking harmful information.

Keyworth declined to comment Wednesday. Perkins, who went sailing in the Mediterranean before the story broke, could not be reached. His spokesman said he would not be commenting on the charges.

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