Notes from the Field: HP fraudster cops a plea; OnRebate responds to me

Notes from the Field: HP fraudster cops a plea; OnRebate responds to me

Despite Apple's "there's nothing to see here, please move along" response to the scandal surrounding Steve Jobs' $US75 million stock options, the Feds appear to have other ideas. According to The Wall Street Journal, the SEC is investigating Apple's curious habit of selectively dating options and holding fictitious board meetings. Top execs at other companies have been cut loose after being tainted by the options scandal, but Jobs? He'd have to set fire to a station wagon full of nuns (or swap OS X for Windows) before Apple would consider cutting the cord. But he may need an iPhone to call his bail bondsman.

She handed me a subpoena I could feel in my hip pocket: Denver private investigator, Brian Wagner, calls himself "a little guy" - a dime-store gumshoe hired by HP to finesse reporters' private phone records from cell companies. Earlier this month, Wagner pleaded guilty to identity theft and fraud for his role in the HP spying case. Word on the street is he rolled over and sang like a canary when the Feds put his feet to the fire. If he's got dirt to spill, this case could blow up faster than a bucket of Mentos in a bathtub full of Coke.

Rebate debate: Cringe fan, Juan C. says OnRebate should be called ConRebate, given the trouble he's had getting the money promised him. Conversely, David K. says his experience with OnRebate was better than he's had with other rebate services - admittedly a dismal lot.

OnRebate CEO, Bill Gollan, likens his company to a baseball umpire: They don't write the rule book, they just call balls and strikes. "We enforce the rules manufacturers ask us to enforce. And if a claim is denied, we automatically invite customers to resubmit." Gollan admits some firms make it harder to claim rebates than others, but OnRebate gets paid regardless of whether claims are approved or denied. And, yes, OnRebate and Tiger Direct are sister companies, but you wouldn't know it by looking at them.

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