Former eBay staffers charged with aggressively cyberstalking and harassing couple behind critical newsletter

Former eBay staffers charged with aggressively cyberstalking and harassing couple behind critical newsletter
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Six former eBay senior staffers are accused of extensively cyberstalking and harassing a couple behind a newsletter critical of eBay, the Justice Department announced Monday.

The Justice Department alleges the former staffers sent the couple anonymous threatening messages, conducted a sweeping surveillance campaign, and sent them items including a box of cockroaches, a funeral wreath and a bloody pig mask to intimidate them. 

All six were charged with cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses, and could face up to five years in prison each and individual fines of up to $250,000. 

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James Baugh, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, and David Harville, the former director of global resiliency at eBay, were both arrested Monday morning as part of the charges. 

The four other defendants are Stephanie Popp, eBay’s former senior manager of global intelligence, Stephanie Stockwell, the former manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center (GIC), Veronica Zea, a former eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst in the GIC and Brian Gilbert, the former senior manager of special operations for eBay’s Global Security Team.

The victims were a couple based in Natick, Mass., who are the editor and publisher of an online newsletter covering e-commerce companies, including eBay. 

The Justice Department says that after the newsletter published a critical story about eBay in August 2019, the former staffers exchanged text messages discussing the idea of “taking down” the editor of the newsletter. 

They then launched a three-part harassment campaign against the couple, including attempts to break into the couple’s car to install a GPS tracking system, sending private threatening tweets and then publicly tweeting the couple’s address, as well as sending disturbing deliveries to the couple’s home, according to the Justice Department. 

These deliveries included a preserved fetal pig, a book on surviving the loss of a spouse and pornography, the Justice Department said.

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Once the couple notified local police, the former staffers tried to hide their harassment and cyberstalking by fabricating eBay “person of interest” documents, lied to eBay lawyers about the case and deleted digital evidence, federal officials say. 

All six of the former staffers were fired by eBay in September 2019 after the company investigated charges brought against them involving the cyberstalking campaign.

An independent committee formed by eBay to investigate the charges against the staffers last year said in a statement on Monday that eBay “apologizes” for the alleged incidents aimed at the couple. 

“eBay does not tolerate this kind of behavior,” the committee said. “eBay apologizes to the affected individuals and is sorry that they were subjected to this. eBay holds its employees to high standards of conduct and ethics and will continue to take appropriate action to ensure these standards are followed.”

The defendants will each face court appearances in Boston “at a later date,” according to the Justice Department.