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Ousted HP chairman Dunn charged with criminal offenses in pretexting scandal

[JURIST] Former Hewlett-Packard [corporate website; JURIST news archive] chairman Patricia Dunn and four others were charged [CA AG press release] in California Wednesday with criminal offenses [felony complaint, PDF; supporting declaration and arrest warrants, PDF] related to a corporate spy scandal that has shaken Silicon Valley. Along with Dunn, former HP ethics director Kevin Hunsaker and private investigators Ronald DeLia, Joseph DePante and Bryan Wagner were charged with the felonies of using of false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information from a public utility, unauthorized access to computer data, identity theft, and conspiracy to commit those crimes. All of the charges stem from their roles in the illegal information gathering scandal that broke last month when HP admitted in an SEC filing [text] they had been investigating boardroom leaks using pretexting. 'Pretexting' is a fraudulent investigative technique that involves an investigator posing as someone else to gain access to confidential or personal information.

Dunn and Hunsaker were lambasted [JURIST report] last week by the US House Energy and Commerce Committee [official website] for their conduct. They chose to invoke their the Fifth Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination. HP announced Dunn's resignation [press release] from its board on September 22. Arrest warrants for all five defendants have been issued; the California Attorney General's office said it would "make arrangements with counsel for Dunn and Hunsaker to surrender voluntarily", and would plan for the arrest and eventual extradition to California of the other defendants currently outside the state. Bloomberg has more.

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