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: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 22:42:17 2020

wow...some of the details in these stories are crazy....in one article they claimed they were supposedly trying to be the White Knights and save them and also in the process try and soften Ina and David to get them to reveal the anonymous posters here on this blog....apparently some of us really got under DW's skin.....I can think of a couple posters and I absolutely enjoy reading their posts and the articles here....I guess the truth hurts....still cannot get over the people they hired that thought they could get away with this....a bunch of dimwits....

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This user has validated their user name. by: epuise

Mon Jun 15 22:47:53 2020

I watched Wenig on CNBC once... Complete detachment... Like he was just 'there'... Doing an unpleasant task... No wonder Hal Lawton split for Tractor Supply... Better garden manure than being neck deep in dirty doo-doo.

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by: Jrskills This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 22:49:36 2020

Ina and David, I am so sorry for what they put you through.  But, thank you so much for standing your ground and not giving in.  I have followed this site for years and your news and info has been so valuable!

With all this happening in August 2019 and useless Wenig being shown the door in September, it appears to be more than coincidental!  It makes me sick to my stomach that he walked away collecting almost $60 million while literally destroying eBay.  If I were the both of you, I’d be going after him hard!!

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by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 22:55:45 2020

^^Ditto^^

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by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 23:04:10 2020

Ina and David, as many others have said, so sorry that you have endure treatment like this. Stay strong.

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by: robx This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 23:04:46 2020

My jaw is on the floor... On behalf of all the hard working sellers that make ebay possible I am so very very sorry morons we paid pulled such a vicious stunt on such nice people. All I can say is screenplay!!! Innocent bloggers, behemoth company out for blood, bumbling crimes and ebay's logo pasted across the big screen for all to see. Sue, sell your story, make noise. Let's see who takes who down.... Best wishes to both of you :)  

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 23:44:33 2020

Hopefully GM is taking a 2nd look at Wenig's character...the stench will linger.

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by: Glilded This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 23:50:59 2020

Please stay safe, where there's 6 there are probably more

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

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 23:53:30 2020

This is definitely disturbing.....I'll leave it at that.  

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by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 15 23:57:33 2020

Wow, after reading the wired.com story, even more disturbed.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Jun 16 00:12:59 2020

"...figure out the identity of one particularly vociferous commenter."

I'm guessing that would be Pace.

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by: AtomicMall This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 00:59:23 2020

Absolutely astonishing. Like others, I was initially confused about the targets of these attacks, thinking they might've been David and Ina. Glad you guys managed to escape the crosshairs of these evildoers!

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

Tue Jun 16 01:09:23 2020

Yep, I just looked at eccomercebytes about page... Natick, MA

Good for you guys.. I had no idea how sleazy ebay had become. I knew they had major issues, but not this...  

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by: cmlt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 01:31:18 2020

Wow, as soon as I read the story elsewhere my first thought was this place. Been reading for almost two decades, consistently tackling any of the new stupid B.S. eBay  threw at sellers. Obviously you hit a nerve for speaking out. Enjoy the retirement check you're going to get out of this ordeal, lol.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Tue Jun 16 01:49:23 2020

When I got the link from Seeking Alpha this morning I knew exactly who it was and I also knew they can handle it.
This is the price that one must pay at times when you are a journalist.
I am sure that Devil Wenig knew all about this and I could tell he was the devil incarnate from the photo that Ina and Dave would put up on this site of Wenig from his eyes. That is why I said he has Charlie Manson eyes.

I don't own any eBay stock any more ( I converted it all into PayPal after the split) but if I was still a shareholder I would be leading a demand that Wenig has to return all of his compensation he ever got from eBay for his part in helping to destroy the eBay name.

Corporate greed knows no bounds.

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by: djdaniel2025 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 02:06:09 2020

I am sorry they did this to you. You fought for years to defend us all, and are the last person on earth who would ever deserve this. So grateful for all you've done!
I stand by your side no matter what!

I hope ebay's execs spend the rest of their pathetic lives in prison, they deserve it.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Jun 16 02:06:53 2020

ON TO ETSY !
Investigate them.
Skimming MILLIONS of Our dollars ILLEGALLY.
The 12% scam and the 15% scam.
DO IT NOW ! ! !
Thanks   :o)

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by: aris This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 03:20:20 2020

One of the only 'great' things about this story, is the fact that these IDIOTS, MORONS or whatever else we can call these LOSERS, are now reading all of our comments about this. It's time they 'read up' on what life in prison will be like.

And it will only get better when the pleas and/or trials start and we can see their ugly mugs and hear their names mentioned on the National news services again and again. (ABC is 'still' running this story every half hour on their all night news).

NBC, in their on-line articles on this story earlier today mentioned 'Ecommercebytes' specifically because they did their homework and Googled the articles in question. That means thousands more people now know about this wonderful newsletter that didn't yesterday.

Wow...just wow. What a major embarrassment for eBay.

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by: Bird Mad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 03:21:57 2020

Is there a GoFundMe and do you need some financial support to go after these people? The FBI is doing a good job on the investigation and charging but, I feel you deserve compensation for what these people tried to do to both of you.

All these years, you have only reported what eBay was doing, known glitches and how it was changing for us sellers. eBay could have learned from your reporting and our comments but instead sent all these employees after you two. The attack was paid for by our selling and listing fees and that is the most upsetting to me.

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 03:25:46 2020

The DOJ certainly needs to do some investigating into the internal workings of these sites so they can see how they target sellers for being vocal.

The likes of Etsy will intentionally trigger a person's symptoms of PTSD to somehow justify their deeds. Provide them info from my state about how it is illegal to intentionally aggravate a person's ailments, simply so they would know that they shouldn't be allowing it on their forums, and they'll accuse you of threatening legal action. They'll even call you names and throw your condition back in your face.

I was never allowed back in their forums and my once growing business became a shop of token sales. You know, the kind that keep your hopes up and keep you coming back for more abuse while they take your money for nothing. This is my only form of personal income because the government won't help.

So, these criminals really need to be brought to justice and soon. There are countless sellers out there who can provide evidence of their illegal and immoral activities.

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