By DAMON DARLIN and MATT RICHTEL
September 15, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14 - Hewlett-Packard's search for directors that it
suspected had leaked confidential information to the news media relied
on an arm of the company's own security force based in Boston, people
briefed on the internal investigation said late Thursday.
The company's use of its Global Investigations Unit, a Boston-based
group responsible for investigating crimes against the company, provides
a potentially intriguing geographic link to prosecutors. They have been
exploring whether, how and why Hewlett-Packard, the Silicon Valley
technology giant, came to rely on information provided by a small
detective firm run from a suburban Boston home.
People briefed on the company's internal investigation say the source of
the leak was explored in part by Anthony Gentilucci, who is based in
Boston as manager of global investigations for Hewlett-Packard Global
Attempts to reach Mr. Gentilucci by phone for comment Thursday evening
were unsuccessful. A spokesman for Hewlett-Packard declined to comment.
Mr. Gentilucci is also listed as the president of the New England
chapter of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association, a group
of Boston-area law enforcement officers, private detectives and
corporate security officers.
The treasurer of that group, Kevin M. Mazza, is a senior investigator
with Hewlett-Packard. When Mr. Mazza was contacted by a reporter
Thursday evening and asked about the leak investigation, he hung up the
California state and federal authorities are investigating
Hewlett-Packard's hiring of private detectives who used illicit methods
in obtaining personal phone records to trace leaks. In addition to
records of its directors and journalists, those of two employees and
several other people were obtained, the company said this week.
Patricia C. Dunn, the Hewlett-Packard chairwoman, has said that she
turned to Hewlett-Packard's head of security in April or May 2005 to
trace a news leak from the board. Ms. Dunn has said she asked the help
of the company's general counsel, Ann Baskins, in an investigation of
leaks in 2006.
Prosecutors have been examining the role of a small Boston-area private
detective firm, Security Outsourcing Solutions. According to the
company's Web site, it serves as a security and private detective agency
that provides specialists to other investigators and companies.
The managing director of Security Outsourcing Solutions, Ronald R.
DeLia, did not return calls or e-mail messages seeking comment.
Corporate security consultants said that in an internal investigation of
this nature, a company would typically wind up relying on a chain of
subcontractors to farm out various aspects of the operation.
Hewlett-Packard has not publicly identified the investigators it used,
though state authorities say the company has been cooperative.
The trouble for H.P. has centered on the use of a technique called
pretexting, which involves impersonating an individual to get access to
that person's calling records from the phone company.
The California attorney general has said that the use of pretexting is
illegal in the state and that he expects indictments within and outside
The company has retained a Philadelphia law firm, Morgan, Lewis &
Bockius, which specializes in white-collar criminal defense, according
to several law journals.
News of the investigation and the methods it entailed became public last
week and has resulted in a major shake-up on the Hewlett-Packard board.
George A. Keyworth II, a director whom the company identified as a
source of disclosures, resigned after Ms. Dunn agreed to step down as
chairwoman. He has denied leaking anything confidential to a reporter.
On another front, William S. Lerach, the San Diego plaintiffs' lawyer,
filed a lawsuit Thursday against H.P.'s board and the tiny Boston
private investigations firm accusing them of breach of fiduciary duty,
waste of corporate assets, abuse of control and violations of other
Mr. Lerach typically files suit against troubled companies seeking
damages because the price of the stock has fallen. But in this instance,
Hewlett-Packard's stock has scarcely been affected.
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