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..

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jun 16 10:30:01 2020

@pace306

"eBay has no limits on what they would do - to anyone that gets in their way - of stealing money on a scale never before seen (except Enron)."

You had better open your eyes to Amazon, corporate espionage is BIG business!

Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Northrop, & Lockheed have been doing it for 1/2 century!. . . . On scale way bigger then eBay!

Toy companies do it, so do auto manufactures.

I'm NOT surprised by any of this, and neither should anyone else.

I'm sure the Steiner's are going to be well compensated and they should be

Let's just hope the settlement doesn't include the demise of this site. . . .

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jun 16 10:43:07 2020

My guess on what happens.

The 6 get convicted, they also get fined.

The Steiners get awarded $250,000 from each of the 6 (collecting it is another story)

I doubt they go after Wenig, he's a big fish but he'll fight tooth and nail.

The primary target will be eBay.

My guess is they settle out of court for $2-$4 million and have to close down this site as part of the settlement. . . . 2020 ~ What a year! (and it's only 1/2 over)

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

Tue Jun 16 10:48:18 2020

LOL @ rudestar 😂🤣😹😁

I agree... there should be some compensation and punitive damages that the Steiners receive from the perps (or from eBay)

eBay is quick to point out that ''former'' employees were arrested... but the fact remains that all this happened when they WERE employed by eBay and it was all being done on behalf of eBay and to ''benefit'' the company.

=================
by: rudestar
Tue Jun 16 10:12:57 2020
Kiss this blog goodbye!
Ina will be too busy decorating the yacht.
=================

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by: myfriendhenry This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 11:05:19 2020

I think this explains the sudden departure of the CEO AND the 30-minute survey.  The board may be attempting to understand what we are all doing here since their vacations were all interrupted.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jun 16 11:06:42 2020

Ina & David, there are no words that express my shock and sadness at what you have been put through at the hands of these corporate Wall Street driven thugs.

Good ideas or bad from the company, your site has always succeeded in presenting facts and giving a voice to those affected positively or negatively.  

What amazes me is the fact that despite the ongoing reign of terror waged against you, this site continued to report truthfully and objectively about the company you likely suspected and eventually came to know was responsible for these heinous acts.

Sadly, those in positions of power within eBay obviously operated under the misguided belief that the company would be better off if they conducted their reign of terror in the hopes of eliminating the source.

Your strength, perseverance and diligence in the face of this adversity is nothing short of amazing.

Hopefully, as this plays out, you will be duly compensated for the abuses you and your family have been subjected to at the hands of those who obviously believed that eBay would be better off trying to silence their critics than listening to them.




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by: myfriendhenry This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 11:06:56 2020

I also think that a portion of the compensation should be shared with those who participate on this site!  :)

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 11:32:00 2020

You had better open your eyes to Amazon, corporate espionage is BIG business!

We are talking about staling and harassment here, NOT espionage

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by: margo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 11:32:17 2020

Dave and Ina it is terrible what those people did to you and I am so sorry you had to go through with it. I just hope the one who started it will be charged also. On the court document it calls him Executive 1. It says he was upset about a article you had written and about the comments.

For example, a comment called eBay executives “liars” and “thugs” who
should be jailed; comment called Executive 1 the devil; and a comment
stated that Executive 1 was “delusional.” Also he was called a liar and a thief.

On April 10, 2019, for example, Executive 2 texted Executive 1, “We are going to

crush this lady,” sending along a link to the Newsletter’s coverage that day of Executive 1’s
compensation.
On April 20, 2019, discussing the Wall Street Journal’s coverage of Executive 1,
Executive 1 texted to Executive 2, “FXFN them. The journal is next on the list after [Victim 1].”
On May 31, 2019, commenting on the Newsletter’s coverage of eBay that day,
Executive 2 texted to Executive 1, “Shockingly reasonable...” Executive 1 replied, “I couldn’t
care less what she says.” Seconds later, Executive 1 added, “Take her down.”
We all know who is Executive 1 is so I don't understand why he is not charged when he instigated it.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 11:34:48 2020

TY RIC for saying it so eloquently !

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by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 11:42:06 2020

@Tool

Each of the conspirators is facing up to 5 years for each count of Cyber Stalking, and as first time offenders, they may get 6-12 months. The problem for them is the Conspiracy to Commit felonies, and the Witness Tampering and Destroying Evidence charges, each count is 10-20 years. All of these are federal charges, so if they get 25 years, they will serve 25 years, no time off for good behavior, and you spend your time in federal penitentiaries, usually several states away from home.

Tell me, do you think the 23 and 26 year old women will be willing to do that time for David Wenig, knowing he sleeps on mattresses filled with his $57 million golden parachute from eBay? How about the former police captain, he will be very popular in prison, think he is willing to do the time for ole Dave? The question is who has already flipped?

This is why Wenig was fired at the same time as these 6 employees. Read the criminal complain, there are others, designated as Executive 1, Executive 2, Analysis 1-3, who were also involved.  These people took flights from San Jose to Boston, stayed at the Ritz Carlton, and rented 3 cars, all on eBay's dime. Someone above them had to approve those expenses. Wenig knew everything, they all did.

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by: myfriendhenry This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 11:52:57 2020

No joke people, A serious question to Ina:
Do you think eBay got hold of your registered EcommerceBytes user list?
I am seeing some strange, never seen before behavior on my listings and listings are getting zero bites now.  I am one of the posters that wrote about N95 masks and how eBay destroyed the transaction evidence but kept the fees.
Retaliation is a real thing.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jun 16 11:53:35 2020

@Shanna

"Wenig knew everything, they all did."

That would be almost impossible to prove.

I bet Wenig never spends a single day in jail, it doesn't work that way.

If it did Hillary and Barrack would be behind bars! So would Donald. . . .

PS: I thing GM will release Wenig from it's board of directors today or tomorrow. . . . .

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 11:57:50 2020

I see an ankle monitor in Wenig's future.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jun 16 11:58:51 2020

@myfriendhenry

"retaliation"

I'm sure everyone on this forum has felt that way one time or another.

There are about 20 full time posters on this forum (daily posters) that I am sure have been a target at one time or another, myself included. . . .But if I were to say who was target #1 besides the Steiners I would say Pace306. . .He might have a case if he chooses to pursue it. . . .

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

Tue Jun 16 12:04:46 2020

I wonder which tv network will do a show on this event. Maybe Dateline or 20/20.

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.

Tue Jun 16 12:19:45 2020

@Tool

Did you read the criminal complaint? The FBI got ahold of the suspect's WhatsApp accounts, where they planned everything. They already have all of Wenig's emails and social media accounts, all they need is one email stating "get her", which they state in the complaint that "Executive 1" stated. Who is "Executive 1"? Ebay stated that it was Wenig.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Jun 16 12:27:29 2020

@Shanna

Has Wenig been arrested? (I'm sure the Steiner's would like to see that)

Looks like the evidence against him isn't cut & dry or he would be behind bars.

It's very very rare that the guy at the top takes the fall, Enron was an exception to that rule. . . .

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

Tue Jun 16 12:29:13 2020

Dear Frank Abagnale,
"American Greed", shown on the Stock (Cramer) Channel should have this "in the can" by September.

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

by: Opalie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 16 12:57:23 2020

Tool

I don't understand why on earth you think closing down this site would be part of any settlement.

Sometimes I do have to wonder what you're inhaling.

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

Tue Jun 16 12:59:35 2020

Where is "Marie" in all of this?  Kinda radio silent!
I wanna hear some plausible retorts on justifying Ebay's action. Haa

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