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

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Jun 20 02:11:31 2020

GM share holders re-elect Devin Wenig to board of directors Tuesday.

This is worth reading.

https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/general-motors/
2020/06/18/devin-wenig-gm-ebay-board-directors/3204535001/

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 20 06:41:20 2020

Ina and David.   PLEASE take each and every step possible / necessary to MEMORIALIZE this post and all of the com ments sent your way from your loyal followers.
A year from now when the REAL FIREWORKS start when this "Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight" are in the dock Trying and Failing to keep their Tushies OUT of prison won't have to file FOI Freedom Of Information requests to see the GENESIS of this scandal.  

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

Sat Jun 20 11:20:01 2020

ECM - thanks very much for an outstanding comment and great information.
Thanks also to Purple Iris and many other long time commentators who have shared their experience and insights with us, especially regarding the EBay debacle.
Purple Iris is right spot on about Etsy- in many ways the corporate thugs over there are even more vindictive, but in a different way.  Rather than go and break your legs, they simply de-platform your shop so you don't get views and sales.  Simple.
The persecution of our dear friends the Steiners proves one thing:   the Pen is indeed mightier than the Sword.

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by: anng This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 20 11:40:07 2020

Ina and David - So very sorry for what you and your family had to endure for no reason other than doing your job to the best of your ability on behalf of us, your constituency.  May I add, a wonderful job that has been over these past two decades. When the story broke this week, I knew immediately who "the bloggers" were having met you years back at an eBay event.  

I spent a number of years in management within two Fortune 500 companies. Organizational culture functions top-down; not bottom-up. The CEO/President (not the Board, btw) sets the tone. Sure, "maverick" employees might pull-off some scheme to pad personal commissions; off-load work; or otherwise promote their self-interest; but something like this would only occur via tacit approval down the chain of command. There is no personal end game here. This is corporate shenanigans. Wenig set the tone; put out the message “take her down...” Fool put it in texts – not once, but twice. Words DO MATTER when you are in a leadership position.  That his attitude was common knowledge suggests this isn't over yet.

Corporate America needs to see REAL jail time penalties to recognize these behaviors are intolerable. So very tired of wrist slaps and fines. No matter what, fortunately for you both, there is always civil restitution for harm caused. Best wishes.

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 20 13:54:59 2020

anng put it very well: "Organizational culture functions top-down; not bottom-up. The CEO/President (not the Board, btw) sets the tone. Sure, "maverick" employees might pull-off some scheme to pad personal commissions; off-load work; or otherwise promote their self-interest; but something like this would only occur via tacit approval down the chain of command. There is no personal end game here. This is corporate shenanigans. Wenig set the tone; put out the message “take her down...” Fool put it in texts – not once, but twice. Words DO MATTER when you are in a leadership position."

Having working for a number of large corporations, myself, I can attest to what she stated. Wenig is the ring leader.

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 20 14:14:59 2020

Flying Childers said, "about Etsy- in many ways the corporate thugs over there are even more vindictive, but in a different way.  Rather than go and break your legs, they simply de-platform your shop so you don't get views and sales.  Simple."

Yep. They just make you go away by taking your sales away (and your voice).

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by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 20 16:45:01 2020




This is another proof that eBay is ran by a cult like mentally. They go after critics instead of fixing its ''obvious'' problems.


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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 20 19:06:12 2020

Ya know...
except for the lack of accountability and integrity, eBay is just about perfect.  

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by: J11 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 20 20:16:47 2020

There has been a massive growing trend of targeted harassment. Some people claim they are 'targetted individuals' selected for a number of reasons and experience organized gangstalking and harassments.

Infragard is a terrorist organization that is controlled by the FBI.  They break into people's homes, threaten, steal, and perform illegal surveillance, assault & battery, continuous harassment, and even attempted murder.

This youtuber has documented his targeting over the last few years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB9OVEM72Pw.  

Very sorry Ida and David.  No one deserves to be victimized and targeted in any manner whatsoever. The level of targetting you experienced was very clearly beyond mind-boggling.  Stay safe, have faith.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Covid-20

Sat Jun 20 22:26:43 2020

@Pace306
Since I have been on this site ( through past accounts even) -
You are my number one. I wish I lived next door to you and/or could buy you a steak dinner! Haa  You're friggin' awesome.
I thought I had the world licked in regards to who had the most contempt for these charlatans. You got me beat by half a mile!
If I could post some of my "payback" I did to them back in the day ( and still currently do) with impunity, I would. But I can't. :0(

Let's just say there ARE in fact loopholes around things. You just gotta know how to look for them. Cheers!

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 21 01:06:56 2020

"Who are these so called "cheerleaders" because I haven't seen a SINGLE poster say this rain of terror was OK."

1) this isnt a name and shame game - those who are eBay cheerleaders know who they are

2) No one - even a cheerleader has said/will say/said that this behavior is ok

What they DO say is that just because eBay puts something in its rules - that its now Ok to do ala charging sellers FVF on sales that include sales tax.

When cheerleaders do say "well yeh its wrong" .... its as "weak as water" (to quote Are You Being Served) ie its milktoast.

"So yeh its wrong/illegal but so what?" thats the attitude.

I dont expect people to have the same feelings I do about things - but they would get more upset about spilled milk then when eBay steals from sellers.

Your reply is another (yet another) attempt to bait me - which I wont fall for.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 21 01:14:56 2020

COVID - ty I appriciate the kind words.

I understand that for some I may be "too much" - but Id like to think I was raised well - stealing is stealing be it sellers OR buyers.

I dont think its too much to expect a little parity or honesty from the people you do business with.

If you buy a cake and it says "Made with real Vanilla", you would expect it to actually contain REAL vanilla.

But people here defend eBay even though they swore (in court no less) that they were "just a venue" and had no control over what any seller does. They dont look at whats sold, they dont judge whether its real or fake - they just connect people together.

Then they go around and threaten you "if you dont take 30 day returns - we will take the money from you like it or not, if you dont process your sales through us - we will kick you off the platform and the like.

Clara Peller said "wheres the beef!??"

I ask "wheres the VENUE!"

But there are people here who will defend eBays bad behaviors over and over and over.

This time SHOULD be a warning to them (how close to ourselves is it when it was the Steiners) yet they never learn or care. "Well its in the rules so too bad"...

eBay will do ANYTHING to steal and enrich themselves - and this proves it .

Again - ty for your kind words - and I hope Ina and David sue each and every one of them into oblivion and back, (build a Walkers EAST)(JK) and retire on some desert island somewhere for the rest of their long happy lives.

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by: rickyrocket This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 22 01:07:06 2020

My heart goes out to you and your husband, Ina...such sad and wicked actions. I too hope that you are very well compensated (for life) because of the horrible emotional toll that you've been through. Best of luck to you both

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Tue Jun 23 00:09:02 2020

I saw on Bloomberg today a snip-it about what happened and how Wenig was behind all of this and how eBay denies any wrong doing. They also said that he is on the Board of GM after they gave him a real beating about the eBay conspiracy.
I have not bought or sold anything from GM since 2013 and I probably never will again.

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 23 08:43:51 2020

Careful, Bill. He might sic his posse on you, especially if you go Ford. LOL

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Tue Jun 23 12:27:07 2020

Well I own 3 Ford vehicles and also Ford stock so he can sic his posse all he wants.
Wenig is a scourge to big business and a the biggest example of corporate greed in America. His kind should all be thrown in jail for destroying so many peoples lives.

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This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Wed Jun 24 10:19:56 2020

Ina, I am so sorry you and your husband had to go through such a crazy and scary ordeal. Your courage and resilience are truly admirable!
------------------------------
(I realize that these allegations are yet unproven in a court of law) Is it clear yet if eBay learned a lesson, or is corporate retaliation still a "thing?"

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by: Outraged This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 25 14:44:16 2020

I'm sorry you had to go through this.  It's clear from the references in the unsealed complaint that Wenig is Executive 1, and was fully aware of what had happened.  Why was he not charged?  Why was "Executive 2" not charged when he or she ordered these things?  I hope there are more charges to come.  It sucks that executives can get away with hits like this while others pay the price.

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by: mrx This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 12 07:43:09 2020

Looks like some other critics may have eBay by the Short hairs as well.

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