Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon June 15 2020 13:24:33

Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

By: DOJ and eBay press releases

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Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking Campaign Targeting Natick Couple

BY: Department of Justice Press Release

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 15, 2020

Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking Campaign Targeting Natick Couple

BOSTON – Six former employees of eBay, Inc. have been charged with leading a cyberstalking campaign targeting the editor and publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company. The alleged harassment included sending the couple anonymous, threatening messages, disturbing deliveries – including a box of live cockroaches, a funeral wreath and a bloody pig mask – and conducting covert surveillance of the victims. 

James Baugh, 45, of San Jose, Calif., eBay’s former Senior Director of Safety & Security, was arrested today and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses.

David Harville, 48, of New York City, eBay’s former Director of Global Resiliency, was arrested this morning in New York City on the same charges and will make an initial appearance via videoconference in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.

In addition the following defendants were charged in an Information unsealed today: Stephanie Popp, 32, of San Jose, eBay’s former Senior Manager of Global Intelligence; Stephanie Stockwell, 26, of Redwood City, Calif., the former manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center (GIC); Veronica Zea, 26, of San Jose, a former eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst in the GIC; and Brian Gilbert, 51, of San Jose, a former Senior Manager of Special Operations for eBay’s Global Security Team. They are each charged with  conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and will make appearances in federal court in Boston at a later date. 

According to the charging documents, the victims of the cyberstalking campaign were a Natick couple who are the editor and publisher of an online newsletter that covers ecommerce companies, including eBay, a multinational ecommerce business that offers platforms for consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer transactions. Members of the executive leadership team at eBay followed the newsletter’s posts, often taking issue with its content and the anonymous comments underneath the editor’s stories. 

It is alleged that in August 2019, after the newsletter published an article about litigation involving eBay, two members of eBay’s executive leadership team sent or forwarded text messages suggesting that it was time to “take down” the newsletter’s editor.

In response, Baugh, Harville, Popp, Gilbert, Zea, Stockwell, and others allegedly executed a three-part harassment campaign. Among other things, several of the defendants ordered anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home, including a preserved fetal pig, a bloody pig Halloween mask, a funeral wreath, a book on surviving the loss of a spouse, and pornography – the last of these addressed to the newsletter’s publisher but sent to his neighbors’ homes.

As part of the second phase of the campaign, some of the defendants allegedly sent private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content and threatening to visit the victims in Natick. The documents allege that Baugh, Gilbert, Popp and another eBay security employee planned these messages to become increasingly disturbing, culminating with “doxing” the victims (i.e., publishing their home address). It is alleged that the very same group intended then to have Gilbert, a former Santa Clara police captain, approach the victims with an offer to help stop the harassment that the defendants were secretly causing, in an effort to promote good will towards eBay, generate more favorable coverage in the newsletter, and identify the individuals behind the anonymous comments.

The third phase of the campaign allegedly involved covertly surveilling the victims in their home and community. According to the complaint, Harville and Zea registered for a software development conference to explain their trip to Boston on Aug. 15, 2019. Baugh, Harville, and Zea (and later Popp) allegedly drove to the victims’ home in Natick several times, with Harville and Baugh intending at one point to break into the victims’ garage and install a GPS tracking device on their car. As protection in the event they were stopped by local police, Baugh and Harville allegedly carried false documents purporting to show that they were investigating the victims as “Persons of Interest” who had threatened eBay executives. The victims spotted the surveillance, however, and notified the Natick police, who began to investigate. The police learned that Zea had rented one of the cars used by the defendants and reached out to eBay for assistance.

Aware that the police were investigating, the defendants allegedly sought to interfere with the investigation by lying to the police about eBay’s involvement while pretending to offer the company’s assistance with the harassment, as well as by lying to eBay’s lawyers about their involvement. At one point, for example, Baugh, Gilbert, Popp, and Stockwell allegedly plotted to fabricate another eBay “Person of Interest” document that could be offered to the police as a lead on some of the harassing deliveries. As the police and eBay’s lawyers continued to investigate, the defendants allegedly deleted digital evidence that showed their involvement, further obstructing what had by then become a federal investigation.

The charges of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses each carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Natick Chief of Police James G. Hicks made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth B. Kosto and David J. D’Addio of Lelling’s Securities, Financial and Cyber Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case. 

The details contained in charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Link to Press Release on Department of Justice website.

eBay Inc. Issues Statement Regarding Indictments of Previously Terminated Employees

BY: eBay Press Release

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) today commented on indictments separately announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts against several former eBay employees. Neither the Company nor any current eBay employee was indicted. In order to preserve the integrity of the government’s investigation, eBay did not previously communicate about this matter. In light of today’s public announcement by the government, eBay is now addressing this matter publicly. 

eBay was notified by law enforcement in August 2019 of suspicious actions by its security personnel toward a blogger, who writes about the Company, and her husband. eBay immediately launched a comprehensive investigation, which was conducted with the assistance of outside legal counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. As a result of the investigation, eBay terminated all involved employees, including the Company’s former Chief Communications Officer, in September 2019.

The independent special committee formed by eBay’s Board of Directors to oversee the Company’s investigation into this matter said, “eBay took these allegations very seriously from the outset. Upon learning of them, eBay moved quickly to investigate thoroughly and take appropriate action. The Company cooperated fully and extensively with law enforcement authorities throughout the process. eBay does not tolerate this kind of behavior. 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 Company noted that the internal investigation also examined what role, if any, the Company’s CEO at the time of the incident, Devin Wenig, may have had in this matter. The internal investigation found that, while Mr. Wenig’s communications were inappropriate, there was no evidence that he knew in advance about or authorized the actions that were later directed toward the blogger and her husband. However, as the Company previously announced, there were a number of considerations leading to his departure from the Company.

Link to statement on the eBayInc.com website.

Comments (279) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 13:52:13 2020

Remember when I asked to what lengths these crooks would go?

Exhibit A

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 14:12:32 2020

Ina and David better be careful.

They kindly let us post about eBay and it’s illegal activities- they could be next.

eBay has no floor. There is no length they won’t go to to hide the depth of their criminal enterprise.

Stay safe guys and be vigo!

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 14:21:06 2020

No matter what Ebay claims about Wenigs involvement this explains his sudden departure from the company without a doubt in my mind.  Wenig was never one to be able to accept any type of criticism and everything had to be HIS way or the highway, which is one of the reasons that Ebay has lost so much ground to the other online ecommerce platforms.  This also does so much more to question how Wenig managed to pull a $57 million golden parachute out of Ebay.  That never should have happened as I am sure he was terminated WITH CAUSE after this has all come out.  I think this also explains why June 30 is going to be the departure dates for the former CFO and the 2 board members who are also suddenly retiring.

This shows just how low corporate America will slink to in order to not have all of their dirt aired in public.  No matter what kind of spin Ebay is putting on this I have no doubt that Wenig as well as some board members were very much aware of this campaign and probably were involved in some way themselves.

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 14:30:17 2020

We're Ebay. We're great. We can do anything and get away with it.

Thats the problem with them. they think like this. It's why this happened, and why Ebay is doing so crappy. I would say acting like children but not even children go this far. This is beyond ridiculous.

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 14:31:15 2020

Please tell me none of these people work there any more?

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Jun 15 14:37:47 2020

Absolutely incredible.  When I saw the headline about a couple with a newsletter, I immediately thought about this blog.  The state of "leadership" in corporate America, ladies and gentlemen.

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: Part Time Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 14:42:25 2020

I'm shocked and saddened by this news.  My heart goes out to the victims.  

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Jun 15 14:56:49 2020

ecommercebytes is located in Natick, Ma.

1+1= David & Ina

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Jun 15 14:59:18 2020

Story from another news source:

https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2020/06/15/ebay
-cyberstalking-natick-couple.html

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:08:29 2020

You don't have to be a blogger to become a target of these folks and eBay isn't the only criminal organization out there robbing American Small Businesses blind while silencing those who are onto them. You can ask many who've sold on these sites that were taken over, even in a blatantly hostile manner, by Wall Street.

The rich are going to have their patsies while they walk away with golden parachutes.

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:12:16 2020

Wenig was definitely involved, shareholders should sue to recover his massive golden parachute.

This vindictive behavior has been going on at ebay for decades. If you complained about eBay on its boards, mysteriously your sales would disappear, and some of your listings would too.

So which one of these thugs will flip on Wenig, knowing they are going to prison and he is sitting in the Bahamas counting his millions.

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Jun 15 15:23:18 2020

What caught my eye was the word: "restitution"

Can you imagine being on that jury. . . . .

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:28:19 2020

Why do you think "activist" investors have been pushing to sell? They want out with as much as they can get before the ball drops.

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:28:35 2020

"Sticks and Stones may break my bones -
but words about eBay will get you cyber-stalked

eBay, really - - no backbone for being criticized.  

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:36:50 2020

https://www.ebayinc.com/stories/news/ebay-inc-issues-statement-regardi
ng-indictments-of-previously-terminated-employees/

The
last paragraph:
"The Company noted that the internal investigation also examined what role, if any, the Company’s CEO at the time of the incident, Devin Wenig, may have had in this matter. The internal investigation found that, while Mr. Wenig’s communications were inappropriate, there was no evidence that he knew in advance about or authorized the actions that were later directed toward the blogger and her husband. However, as the Company previously announced, there were a number of considerations leading to his departure from the Company."

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:40:43 2020

Thanks for the great comments and I think that Tool Guy may be right, that the victims are none other than the publishers of this amazing blog.
Apparently the story is getting out there and even I was shocked to find out in detail what these disgusting thugs did to their victims.
Also agree with posters who speculated about other things happening on Ebay that might be related.
Hopefully these creeps don't get to make to make a plea bargain.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/all/former-ebay-employees
-threatened-couple-who-wrote-critical-newsletter-articles-n1231075

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:47:18 2020

I hope you sue the pants off of them....

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:47:48 2020

Amen to what Thrifty said! LOL

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Mon Jun 15 15:50:16 2020

This story exemplifies ebay's culture and values. These are precisely the kind of people ebay breeds and fosters. In a year from now, we'll be reading about their rehiring.  

Perminate Link for Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..   Six Former eBay Employees Charged with Aggressive Cyberstalking..

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Jun 15 15:55:08 2020

When I first saw this horrific story, I immediately thought that it was the Steiners. So glad to know that it wasn't. But I do feel bad for the victims. What kind of people would do such a thing? And what good purpose does it serve? It's just insane.

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