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Private investigator in HP spying scandal pleads guilty to federal charges

[JURIST] Bryan Wagner, the private investigator involved in the Hewlett-Packard corporate spying scandal [JURIST news archive] pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges [criminal information, PDF] of conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. Wagner was accused of using used the social security number of a targeted reporter to obtain the reporter's telephone records, which Wagner provided to other co-conspirators. The charges carry a possible five-year sentence for conspiracy and a mandatory minimum of two years imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft charge. Under Wagner's plea agreement, he will cooperate with prosecutors in future investigations in exchange for a lighter sentence.

In November, Wagner pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to state charges of using 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 stemming from his role in the corporate spying scandal. The scandal prompted Congress to pass anti-pretexting legislation in 2006, criminalizing obtaining phone records through fraud or lying. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.

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