HP 'pretexting' scandal ends with former P.I.'s sentencing

Former private investigator Bryan Wagner will be the only person connected to the spying scandal to serve time.

Bryan Wagner, a former private investigator, has been sentenced to serve three months for his role in the Hewlett-Packard pretexting scandal.

Wagner yesterday stood before U.S. District Court Judge D. Lowell Jensen, who sentenced him for his role in the pretexting scheme. After that period is up, Wagner will be monitored for two years under supervisory release.

Wagner, who pleaded guilty to identity theft and conspiracy in 2007, could have faced up to two years in prison, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Kane asked the judge to reduce the sentence. Wagner is believed to have cooperated with prosecutors to aid them in their broader investigation of the scheme.

The spying scandal, which dates back to 2005, centered on a technique known as "pretexting," or obtaining personal information under false pretenses. As the investigation wore on, it was revealed that then-HP Chairwoman Patrician Dunn had led an investigation at the company to uncover board leaks. Wagner was hired by two other investigators -- Joseph DePante and his son, Matthew -- to aid the company in determining how leaks were filtering out to journalists. Three CNET News reporters and one reporter's father were targeted in the scheme.

Wagner will be the only person to serve jail time. The DePantes were ordered to serve three years probation . Charges against HP executives and board members were eventually dropped.

In a statement to the court yesterday, Wagner admitted that he "made mistakes and I apologize for these."

(Via Wired)

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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