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Tuesday, 01 September 2009 03:13

FBI looking into laptops given to U.S. governors

Following up on mysterious deliveries of HP laptops to three U.S. state governors' offices, the FBI is trying to find out who's placing the orders. The shipments began in early August, and addition to the four deliveries, six other orders have been intercepted.

As reported by the IDG News Service, the first deliveries were to the Wyoming governor's offices on August 3 and 6.

After receiving the second shipment, office staff became suspicious and turned the computers over to the police.

Meanwhile, on August 5, five unordered laptops were also delivered to the governor's office in West Virginia.

That story was covered by the Charleston Gazette, which quoted administrative manager Cindy Smith as saying the packages were addressed to "Gov. Joe Manchin" at his Capitol address.

No one had ordered the computers, so "for security reasons, we didn't even turn them on," Smith said. Her office checked with the state's Chief Technology Officer, which also had no record of the order. At that point, the governor's office contacted the state police.

Besides Wyoming and West Virginia, Vermont was also reported to have received laptops. 

For more on the mystery, see Page 2.

The computers involved are being held as evidence, and the various state police agencies are working with the FBI to figure out where they came from.

HP confirmed to West Virginia officials that the computers were ordered online, but so far hasn't said by whom.

So far, it has not been determined what kind of mischief the computers could have caused. 

An HP spokesperson confirmed that several such orders have been linked to fraud in the past.

"HP is aware that fraudulent state government orders recently have been placed for small amounts of HP equipment," spokeswoman Pamela Bonney wrote to IDG News Service.

"HP took prompt corrective action to address the fraudulent orders and is working with law enforcement personnel on a criminal investigation."


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