According to numerous wire releases, it appears that the private investigators implicated in the Hewlett-Packard Co. scandal, will avoid jail time in a no contest plea deal to misdemeanor charges on fraudulent wire communications in California.
In a statement issued by the Attorney General’s Office, the court did not accept the plea from investigators, Ronald DeLia, with the private investigation firm of Security Outsourcing Solutions Inc. and Matthew DePante, a third-party consultant working with Action Research Group. Rather, the judge offered to officially dismiss the case against them in September if they complete 96 hours of community service and pay restitution to victims.
Another defendant, private investigator Bryan Wagner, who previously worked at Action Research Group, also was charged in October. The state’s case against him was dropped after Wagner pleaded guilty to the same charges in federal court and agreed to testify for the prosecution.
The investigators were initially charged in October with four felony counts: use of false or fraudulent pretenses to obtain confidential information from a public utility; unauthorized access to computer data; identity theft; and conspiracy to commit each of those crimes. Each of those charges carried a fine of up to $10,000 and three years in prison.
While the deal with state prosecutors allows all the defendants to escape jail time, federal prosecutors have said their investigation of the HP leaks probe is ongoing. The saga continues…what do you think?