Risk Management

Dunn Deal: HP Spy Charges Dropped

Three co-defendants of the former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman will have their charges dismissed after completing community service and making restit...
Stephen TaubMarch 14, 2007

A California judge dropped criminal charges against former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn stemming from the company’s boardroom spying scandal, according to published reports.

“This is a vindication of Patty Dunn in every sense of the word,” her lawyer, James Brosnahan, told the Associated Press. “It shows what she’s maintained throughout: that she’s innocent of these charges.”

Three other defendants reportedly will avoid prison time following a plea of “no contest” to a single misdemeanor charge each of fraudulent wire communications. According to the AP, charges will be dismissed against former Hewlett-Packard ethics chief Kevin Hunsaker, and private investigators Ronald DeLia and Matthew DePante, after they complete 96 hours of community service and make restitution, the judge said in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Last October, state prosecutors reportedly charged Dunn, Hunsaker, DeLia, DePante, and private investigator Bryan Wagner with four felony counts: use of false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information from a public utility, unauthorized access to computer data, identity theft, and conspiracy. Each charge carries a fine of up to $10,000 and three years in prison, the AP noted.

According to published accounts, Wagner was secretly obtained a journalist’s Social Security number, then used it to obtain the journalist’s records from his telephone provider. Wagner also allegedly tried to obtain personal information about HP directors and employees to determine who was passing on boardroom leaks.

Revelations of the misconduct last year led to the resignation of Hewlett-Packard executives including Dunn and Hunsaker.

In January, state charges against Wagner were dropped after he pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and aggravated identity theft and agreed to testify for the prosecution, according to the report.

According to the AP, Wagner’s plea arrangement specifies that he will cooperate with federal prosecutors, who have said that their investigation is continuing.

The announcements came the same day that Hewlett-Packard held its first annual meeting since the spying scandal came to light.