HP pretexters face sentencing


Former HP CEO and Chairman Mark Hurd

Here’s an uncomfortable reminder of one of the bleaker parts of Hewlett-Packard’s(s hpq) past. Two private investigators — a father-and-son team — face sentencing Thursday for their role in the HP pretexting scandal, according to The Washington Post.

Matthew and Joseph DePante are slated to appear in U.S. District Court in San Jose Thursday. Both pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit Social Security fraud and face three years of probation and six months of electronic monitoring.

The two were part of a scheme starting in 2005 — approved by HP’s then-chairman Patricia Dunn — to figure out who was leaking confidential company information to reporters. Toward that end, the DePantes allegedly posed as account holders or employees of phone companies to get copies of private phone logs of people suspected of leaking or receiving the confidential information.

Prosecutors charged that the investigators, using this ploy, got information about HP board members, employees and reporters for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Cnet. Dunn and three other HP insiders were charged in this case although charges were reduced in 2007. The furor led to Dunn’s ouster.

Mark Hurd, who was HP CEO from 2005 to 2010, remained largely unscathed by the scandal — although it occurred on his watch. He was asked about it by a Congressional subcommittee in 2006 because he was present at a 2005 meeting in which the private investigators’ tactics were discussed, but said he had no recollection of the conversation. Hurd is now co-president of Oracle (s orcl).

Feature photo courtesy of donjd2

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