Patricia Dunn and three others involved with the HP pretexting scandal will avoid jail time

The California Attorney General's office today announced that Patricia Dunn, a leading figure in the Hewlett-Packard pretexting scandal that rocked the company late last year, will not face felony charges, which will ultimately allow her to avoid jail time. 

The California judge dismissed all charges due to a settlement that was reached between the attorney general's office and Dunn.  The former HP board chairwoman was accused of fraud in a pretexting spying scandal dating back two years.

Dunn vehemently denied that she was aware of the tactics used by investigators who were looking into media leaks from HP.  "This is a vindication of Patty Dunn in every sense of the word," said Dunn's lawyer, James Brosnahan.

Former HP ethics chief Kevin Hunsaker, private investigators Ronald DeLia and Matthew Depante, previously charged along with Dunn, will also avoid jail time after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of fraud.  The three will officially be cleared in September after they successfully pay restitution and complete almost 100 hours of community service.

The state of California is still able to file charges in the ongoing case if new evidence is gathered. 

Even though Dunn may be in the clear, the case has had far reaching effects.  Late last year, California attempted to pass a bill to ban pretexting.  The bill did not pass, though a U.S. Congress act two months later made pretexting a federal offense.

HP hopes to forget the incident by settling a spying lawsuit and paying $14.5M to the state of California.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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November 16, 2006, 6:51 PM

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