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Former AMX VP Who Spied on Crestron Gets 3 Years Probation

David Goldenberg hacked into emails of four employees at a Crestron rep firm, causing 'immeasurable' losses; will a civil suit ensue?

David A. Goldenberg, the former AMX executive who spied on a Crestron rep firm, has been sentenced to three years probation.

He was convicted of corporate espionage by Judge Harry G. Carroll at the Bergen County Courthouse for intercepting proprietary e-mails from the Crestron rep firm Sapphire Marketing, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

The sentence was announced today: three years probation, including psychological counseling, plus fines for felony wiretapping (Case Number- 822-08 Indictment Number- S412-09).

The prosecution had not argued for jail time.

On May 11, 2009, Goldenberg entered a plea of guilty to felony wiretapping.

The investigation revealed that, while an employee of AMX Corp. (a subsidiary of Duchossis Industries), Goldenberg had infiltrated Sapphire's email accounts. He was intercepting emails related to potential contracts, which gave him advanced knowledge of Sapphire's customers.

From there, he was able to underbid Crestron jobs and win them for AMX.

Sapphire owner Marla Suttenberg says she knew something was fishy during the nine months Goldenberg intercepted the rep firm's emails and telephone conferences.

"For months, he just knew too much about what was going on in our area," she told CE Pro. "He knew our [job] quotes and tried to undercut us on our bids. I had to offer discounts because AMX kept coming in lower."

As it turns out, Goldenberg was forwarding emails to himself from four Sapphire employees. "He just guessed their passwords," Suttenberg says. "It makes you cringe."

Crestron and Sapphire estimate damages in the millions of dollars, but Suttenberg calls the losses "immeasurable."

Will There be a Civil Suit?

AMX denies any knowledge of Goldenberg's actions. CEO Rashid Skaf has said he was "surprised and stunned" by the accusations and would never tolerate such behavior at AMX.

It is generally accepted that AMX did indeed have no knowledge of Goldenberg's shenanigans.

Even so, the company probably benefited from his crimes, according to Crestron executive VP Randy Klein.

Neither Crestron nor Sapphire is commenting on the possibility of civil action against Goldenberg or AMX. Klein did, however, issue this ominous statement:

Mr. Goldenberg is paying the price, but it is hard to believe that his employer and our chief competitor, AMX Corporation, has not benefited from this illegally acquired information. The full damage caused by the compromising of this information is immeasurable and has seriously impacted our past, present and future business.

Prior to being hired by AMX, Goldenberg had been a customer of both Sapphire Marketing and Crestron Electronics.

He approached Crestron for employment in May of 2007 and was not hired. He was hired by AMX in June 2007 as general manager of their east coast office and was promoted to vice president before his arrest.

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Article Topics

News · Legal · Legal · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

16 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Shocked  on  06/26  at  01:50 PM

cant believe you don’t get jail for that.  I should take bigger risks.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  06/26  at  03:41 PM

They didn’t ask for jail time. I think they took pity on him. He clearly has issues.

Posted by Bill Maxey  on  06/26  at  05:47 PM

It’s called corporate espionage, AKA theft of intellectual property.  Simply put, he enriched his company while causing losses to others.  Did he enrich himself?  I assume he did, or planned to in the form of bonuses.

This “probation only” punishment sends the wrong message.

Bill Maxey

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  06/26  at  06:04 PM

yes, of course he enriched himself. I assume he gets commission? He did get a promotion at least.

Posted by Dougie Fresh  on  06/26  at  08:48 PM

Yes, Mr Maxey, Goldenberg’s actions were less than, how do you say, golden, but he did delight a number of readers with a much needed dose of suspense and intrigue that rarely enters the life of systems integrators.

The real questions are 1) when does his book come out and 2) will his literary persona sport a moustache?

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  06/26  at  11:42 PM

1.His book wont ever come out. No one knows about him or his crime but us AV nerds :D.

2.I think the mustache is a safe bet.

Seems like the rule is that its OK to steal a lot of money but not OK to steal a little. Robber holds up convenient store.. gets $400 and goes to jail. AMX slime steals tens of thousands and gets to stay home with his family.

I agree with Shocked.. time to start taking bigger risks! I’m going to pitch the MAX Server to my next client. Sure it sucks and never worked properly.. but i wont have to deal with that until later on down the road.

Posted by ShowMe  on  06/29  at  12:20 PM

Our legal system blows…

Posted by Mark  on  06/29  at  04:18 PM

The sad part is GUESSED passwords. The guy doesn’t strike me as the Über hacker type, so that pretty much means they were seriously weak passwords.

Idiot didn’t even do his hacking from a orinco wireless card (you can program the MAC addresses on those)and throw away laptop sitting outside a library or coffee shop with sunglasses and baseball cap.

Posted by John  on  07/31  at  05:45 PM

David Goldenberg’s Blog Spot. Finally some truth.

Posted by Scott  on  08/01  at  04:48 AM

VERY INTERESTING….finally some information directly from the source. I’ve been waiting for this before chiming in with some thoughts. While what he did, or didn’t do, is not right what people need to know is that the competition between these two firms has NEVER been ethical or healthy. If Crestron and Sapphire want to appear like the “poor little damaged angels” fine but they are NO ANGELS.

If they continue to pick this fight and claims trust me there will be a ton of insider information that would SHOCK the industry about dealings between these two firms and trying to lure employees away and other behind the scenes employee moves. It isn’t a pretty story about some of the things that have taken place, been said and done.

Goldberg has responsibility but many things he stated at 100% accurate. The entire quote process by Crestron is a fact finding mission. Don’t get me wrong the same can be said for AMX quote process. Of course the equipment list used provided them a clear view of every product used and can lead to them trying to undercut to get their product or rep product in there.

I hope this matter continues forward because there are many people and true stories that Goldberg is aware of that people would be amazed to learn. Yes business is business and never easy. However it is safe to say that there are some who have had their career and lives greatly altered by this disgusting atmosphere and attitude he described. Hey Goldberg do the initials CC ring any bells about how dirty things can be?

As the saying goes when you live in a glass house you shouldn’t throw rocks.

Posted by Not Randy Klein  on  08/03  at  03:29 PM

Let me start by saying I don’t work for any of the parties named above so I hope my comments aren’t taken as favoring one side over the other.

I have read all of the articles written, blogs, comments, etc. and the one thing that seems strange to me is that AMX didn’t know anything.  I find that very hard to believe as Goldenberg got a promotion just six months after starting with AMX. I know for a fact that he was hired directly by Rashid Skaf and spent a great deal of time with Debbie Franklin, VP.  I also heard that the police only spoke with him once and never pursued an AMX angle.  I’m sure most people will say that there wasn’t any evidence against AMX otherwise the prosecutor would have gone after them.  I don’t agree.  I believe AMX was involved and someone should speak with Goldenberg.  He has nothing to lose at this point and I think it would make a great story.  Would also love to see those Sapphire/Crestron emails.  Bet they wouldn’t want that information out especially if so many dealers are involved as Goldenberg’s blog states.

Isn’t anyone curious why almost two years after this fiasco that there hasn’t been a civil suit against AMX.  It wouldn’t be hard to make a case.  Remember OJ was found NOT guilty and lost $3M in a civil trial.  Something is not right here.  I bet AMX paid Goldenberg to keep quiet and take the hit. 

Just my two cents.

Posted by sanfransoxfan04  on  08/03  at  06:11 PM

Enjoyable reading John, thanks for posting the blog link. I noticed that;s the Google Cached version, any info why/when the blog was taken down?

Posted by JoeAV  on  08/03  at  08:37 PM

Hey Not Randy Klein you don’t think that much do you?!?! Folks the actions of this greedy Piece of Shi*t were just that. His own ambitious GREED. He wouldn’t have told his AMX management because he knows it wouldn’t have looked favorable for him. Say what you will the management of AMX has far to much experience to EVER leave the entire company that exposed.

His comments are pathetic. His excuse is laughable. As I posted on Julie’s blog the best thing for everybody is to let this thing die and let Goldberg go away for ever from our world.

This matter going further will only harm both AMX and Crestron. Any attorney worth anything would ensure that AMX discloses every little dirty secret, action and events that have taken place between these two firms. This would only embarrass them both and show dealers why they should be looking for another product to support.

Julie is right. Goldberg benefited. Both in position and then in commission. But to have people think AMX really was involved? Come on. If they were in any way Goldberg would have been playing that card long ago and AMX would never “Buy” him off. Image that exposure if anything ever came out. You would have AMX by Crestron…....

Posted by samzam  on  12/07  at  05:28 AM

Actually JoeAV, I agree with Not Randy Klein. It’s not unheard of that big companies pay off people to take a hit for them. Big companies are known for playing it dirty; why should AMX or Crestron be any different?

I can’t help but think how stupid can Saphire’s employees be to keep passwords that are easy to “guess”?

Posted by Marty  on  02/17  at  01:53 PM

I think Crestron got what was coming to them. Their dealer screwed me to the wall, costing me thousands of dollars for a 2 generation crap that still has problems and no growth potential. Crestron does not over see its dealers and the bottom line if dealer sales are high then we will not touch them. Oh, but they will chase the little dog programer out there. I have Crestron in my home and I am not impressed one bit! If I had the money I would rip it all out and go with AMX just because they suck so bad! Good crestron you got a taste of your own medicine. I can’t stand crooks but you have a fleet of them you don’t raise a eye brow too.

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