Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tech gadgets help corporate spying surge in tough times

By Byron Acohido, USA TODAY

Marla Suttenberg had a sinking feeling that a corporate spy was shadowing her.

In March 2008, the owner of Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based Sapphire Marketing was preparing to give a longtime client a generous price cut on $134,000 worth of audio/videoconferencing equipment.

But before her sales rep could extend the offer, her chief rival, David Goldenberg, then regional vice president of sales for AMX, a Dallas-based conferencing systems maker, sent the client an e-mail disparaging Sapphire and offering a steeper AMX discount.

"I felt sick to my stomach," Suttenberg recalls. To pull that off, someone had to have infiltrated Sapphire's internal e-mail, she thought at the time.

She was right. A few days later, Goldenberg, 48, of Oceanside, N.Y., was arrested. He subsequently pleaded guilty to felony wiretapping for tampering with Sapphire's e-mail. He was sentenced last month to three months probation and ordered to undergo counseling. "There was nothing sophisticated about me getting into their e-mail," he said in an interview. "Honestly, I had no idea that it was illegal."

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