Archive for the ‘Data Brokers’ Category

FTC Reaches Settlement With Investigators Involved In The HP Spy Scheme

The FTC reached an agreement on Wednesday for $600,000 in settlements and judgments against several private investigators others involved in the Hewlett-Packard Co. boardroom scandal.

The FTC settlement imposed a $67,000 penalty against Matthew DePante, his father, Joseph DePante, and their now-defunct company, Action Research Group Inc., which was based in Clearwater, Fla. All but $3,000 was suspended due to their inability to pay.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando division, also entered default judgments against DePante’s subcontractors, Bryan Wagner, who must pay $428,085, and Cassandra Selvage and her company, Eye in the Sky Investigations Inc., who must pay $110,762.

More details on this topic can be found at the FTC website as well as other published articles. You can read the actual FTC complaints here.

What are your comments on this topic?

Jimmie Mesis, Editor-in-Chief
PI Magazine

A slew of data brokers settle with AT&T

Data brokers who were sued last year by AT&T for purloining customer telephone records have settled with the telecommunications company.

The 13 defendants were not initially named in AT&T Services, Inc. v. John Doe, filed in District Courts in Texas and California, until AT&T was able to subpoena the Internet service providers. They are now named and a permanent injunction disallows them from conducting similar business in the future.

Private Investigator in H-P Scandal Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft and Conspiracy

Private investigator, Bryan Wagner, of Littleton, Colorado pleaded guilty on Friday to identity theft and conspiracy charges in United States District Court in San Jose. His sentencing is now scheduled for June 20 in San Jose federal court.

The private investigator admitted to the two felony counts as part of a plea deal based on his obtaining the SSN’s and telephone toll records of journalists, former Hewlett-Packard directors, and their family members.

Mr. Wagner admitted to “pretexting” the telephone companies into releasing their records. He admitted to using personal information to set up online accounts in the names of several people to access their telephone toll logs and billing records.

Mr. Wagner’s lawyer, Stephen Naratil, stated his client was the “little guy” who was tricked by others into thinking the investigative method he used was legal. He also said that Mr. Wagner would testify for prosecutors as they pursue other figures in the case.

The four other defendants associated with this case have all pleaded not guilty. You can read more about this here.

What’s your opinion on this?

Private Investigator to Plead Guilty in HP Probe

Several media outlets, including CBS News, Mercury News, and the Computer Business Review are reporting that one of the private investigators charged in the HP scandal will plead guilty today under a plea deal.

It is reported that 29 year old Bryan Wagner, of Littleton, Colorado is expected to enter a guilty at a scheduled arraignment hearing today in a San Jose federal court.

According to Stephen Naratil, Wagner’s lawyer, his client “accepts the full responsibility for what he’s done, although he never thought or intended his actions to be illegal…“He was assured numerous times that what he was doing was legal.”

It appears that federal prosecutors applied the preasure and presented an offer to Wagner in return for his cooperation. There is no doubt that Wagner’s testimony about his involvement will help federal prosecutors develop a case against all those involved.

Under the proposed deal, Wagner faces a two year manditory prison sentence on identity theft charges and a maximum of 5 on the conspiracy charges.

This is a very important case to follow as the results of the federal probe, potential convictions and penalty phase will have a significant impact on future legislation. The January issue of PI Magazine features several articles about the HP scandal and our responsibilities as investigators to remain ethical, at all times, on all cases.

What’s your opinion on this? Add your comments below.

California law bans unauthorized access to telephone call logs

It is little surprise that Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 202, Privacy: telephone calling pattern record or list, making the acquisition of a telephone subscriber’s phone call records a crime.[Read more at Computerworld]

Any person who purchases, sells, offers to purchase or
sell, or conspires to purchase or sell any telephone calling pattern record or list, without the written consent of the subscriber, or any person who procures or obtains through fraud or deceit, or attempts to procure or obtain through fraud or deceit any telephone calling pattern record or list shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment. If the person has previously been convicted of a violation of this section, he or she is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment.

The prohibition applies to telephone numbers called by the subscriber, not reverse address or telephone information. The California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI) supported the bill and urged the governor to sign it.

Other states have restricted access to telephone records, among them are Michigan, Maine, Oklahoma, Arizona, Washington and Florida. Other state legislation on telephone records is collected at the National Conference of State Legislatures Web site.

ChoicePoint ever shifting also delivers some free online tools

There are many tasks that computers can do better than the mere shoe leather on the road. Today’s New York Times reports on research suggesting that computers make more accurate choices in decision making than company managers or human intuition. The companies that develop systems to aggregate disperate bits of relevant personal information and make it easily accessible win the day with investigators. ChoicePoint, among other investigative database providers, has recognized the value of computer software and content acquisition in employment screening, background investigations and financial profiling.

The company has recently absorbed established businesses in vital records management and financial tracking software, keeping tabs on financial borrowers’ activity (epolicy, Inc. too).

Information-service provider ChoicePoint is looking to expand its insurance-verification services with the acquisition yesterday of Insuratec Inc.

Danville, Calif.-based Insuratec notifies lenders of changes to borrowers’ auto, mortgage, motorcycle, and watercraft insurance policies.

The mega data broker has sloughed off businesses outside of this model — such as a DNA lab.

The ChoicePoint division, ChoiceTrust, has an online site where you can instantaneously retrieve free profiles of your auto and home insurance. A self-check of public records data is available by mail.

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