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: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 15:55:49 2020

Thriftyone says:
"I hope you sue the pants off of them.... "

AND THEN auction off those pants.   LOL

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by: bmiller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 16:01:39 2020

Wow, so sorry you've had to endure this shameful attack. I hope they get the maximum sentence for threatening your family! How do these kind of people rise in the ranks of a corporation?

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by: Ladygray This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 16:05:34 2020

Crazy! Sorry to see the victims were the Steiners. Hope you sue!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Castoman

Mon Jun 15 16:07:54 2020

Big news story here.....it's crazy. You 2 run a GREAT site with GREAT information. You deserve a big fat legal settlement larger than Wenig's parachute. I hope they all see prison.

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by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 16:14:52 2020

I'm sure the cheerleaders will soon be posting about how fleecebay is great, how they would never do anything like that. to bad wenig did not get arrested. I'm sure he is the one that gave the o.k. for this.

Ina, David...looks like you got a nice chunk of money coming your way....

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by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 16:16:50 2020

I am thinking of calling the FBI on the targeted harassment of Jim Griffith, Jeff Terrell and Brian Burke of posters on the forums. The culture of eBay ran deep in the company.

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by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 16:28:01 2020

When I read what these Asshats did and tried to do it seems as if the whole operation came from the minds of someone like Shawn Eckardt and Jeff Gillooly...trying to get the proverbial Gold medal for/from Devin W.

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by: Jairib This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 16:37:34 2020

I would like to say unbelievable, unfortunately that is not the case.  I am so sorry for everything they have put you through.  Please tell me you are filing a big, fat lawsuit.  And then when you win, please tell me you will continue publishing this blog that has been so invaluable for all of us.

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

by: amazedndazed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 17:07:41 2020

This is so totally disgusting! Why am I not surprised though?

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

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 17:23:29 2020

Oh WOW!! Hard to believe; top leadership had to set the plan in action/motion. I wonder how long ago they became “former employees”. I wonder what their combined salaries were - paid for by seller fees?  I wonder if Ina and David live in MA.  

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by: lancecorp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 17:25:38 2020

I'm appalled - I know how Ebay has treated many of us on the forums but my heart goes out to Ina and David. In this day and age to act like a bunch of children harassing people who don't agree with them shows the true mentality of this corporation. And some say Ebay would never limit visibility of those that disagree with them on the boards - well it may very well be true.

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by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 17:34:15 2020

WOW!  A not so new low for d-bay exectutives.  Harassment outside of their field.
Threats, and attempted Defamation of Character.  It's no wonder that the management treats the sellers this way.  This is how they view people!
They think that they are above everyone and believe that it is okay to act like some kind of mafia.

Pressing charges serves them less of what is right and what they deserve.  We all knew that the arrogant changes and abuse of members on their site was terrible, now they thought that they had some sort of immunity.  
Unfortunately, I believe that this is far from the end of eBay's abuse, and fee gouging policies. (or other junior companies) There are more rats in that place than in the sewers of New York, and in D.C. combined!
This opens a new door to all of those paid cheerleaders with their trolling and statements like "this is their playing field"  kind of comments.

My empathy goes out to those whom were affected by their detestable actions
and, while I hope that it doesn't stop the great efforts of this site, I understand that it is also not worth the danger of finding out just how low these kind of people will go.  (My apologies to "people" for unintended insult.)

I have greatly enjoyed the forums here for years, and always found great support from the editors articles, and the excellent insight from the posters here.
Thank You all for being the voice and influence for those who still wish to run a good business for sellers and buyers alike!
The awful treatment from ebay boards and the management interference of our listings (intimidation), really wears on honest and hard working people.
Thank you for the Sanctuary!

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This user has validated their user name. by: unsuck
Web Site

Mon Jun 15 17:40:33 2020

I'm so sorry Ina and David endured this tormenting... at the hands of eBay executives, no less.

So many false assumptions on top of false assumptions with plenty of bad judgement all around.

I just finished reading the criminal complaint document and chatting about it with several people.

One person accurately called the complaint ''an un-real read. Sopranos-worthy''

👉 https://bit.ly/2B99nJZ

EACH AND EVERY UPLINE EBAY EXEC ABOVE THOSE ALREADY FIRED (at the time this occurred) SHOULD TENDER THEIR RESIGNATION IMMEDIATELY.

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by: SandyP This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 17:51:56 2020

WOW -- Just WOW, Ina!!    Glad you and your family are ok and that the truth came out.    Businesses actually work better with criticism, good and bad, so thank you for the years of giving us the truth.   I am sure we will all follow the outcomes of these crazy cases.  

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

Mon Jun 15 17:59:20 2020

SURE!  My personal and banking information is safe with Ebay!
MANGED PAYMENTS?   𝐀𝐁𝐒𝐎𝐋𝐔𝐓𝐄𝐋𝐘!

Where do I sign up?

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 18:02:53 2020

Wait, huh? WHA-WHAT? I must have misunderstood! I thought the stalking victims was someone ELSE (other than the Steiners).  

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by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 18:03:18 2020

Sounds like one of those crazy Lifetime movies you say could never happen.

What a bunch of keystone cops.Working in Global Security and leaving breadcrumbs and trails pointing right back at them everywhere. Idiots. These are the people protecting our vital information that Ebay is using for managed payments, folks. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Glad the Steiners are safe and sound, wishing them well. :)

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This user has validated their user name. by: Working It

Mon Jun 15 18:10:06 2020

Ina and David,
I'm so sorry that this happened to you. I can just about imagine the way this progressed from annoyance to anger to fear. I'm happy that you took action and are seeking justice for these horrific actions.
Stay safe!  

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: Covid-20

Mon Jun 15 18:20:49 2020

𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐢𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐓𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐄𝐛𝐚𝐲.
𝐒𝐮𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐥𝐲 . . . .  𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧. 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐚𝐧 𝐉𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐈.𝐏. 𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬

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

by: leathermermaid8 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 18:22:36 2020

Blackmail. Censorship. Extortion. Alethephobia.

I'd love to see these people explain themselves on a national news broadcast along with an apology, without the words "It wasn't me! Not my idea!   Especially after Herr Wenig is called to testify.

"...accepts criticism and profits by it..." Guess it was never on Ebay's report card.
In the thin skinned world of CEOs, it shouldn't surprise anyone.

The lawsuit should embarrass the living crap out of these thugs.  Nobody can handle the truth anymore.

Hang 'em high!

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