Two former eBay Inc. executives have been sentenced to prison due to their roles in a bizarre cyberstalking campaign against a couple who had been critical of the company.
Six now-former eBay employees were arrested in June 2020 for cyberstalking David and Ina Steiner. The couple from Natick, Massachusetts, publish an online newsletter covering e-commerce businesses and were critical of eBay’s business practices, drawing the ire of the eBay employees in 2019.
The cyberstalking included the accused sending the couple threatening messages and “disturbing deliveries,” including a box of live cockroaches, a funeral wreath and a bloody pig mask. In addition, some of the eBay employees are alleged to have conducted covert surveillance on the couple, including attempting to install a GPS tracker on their car.
As alleged, the extensive harassment campaign launched by these six @eBayemployees included sending embarrassing & disturbing deliveries to the Natick couple’s home, including a bloody pig mask, sympathy wreath, a book on how to survive the loss of a spouse, & live insects. pic.twitter.com/U2d1fgsLJD
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) June 15, 2020
The campaign did not involve a few low-level rouge employees, however, but senior eBay executives, including David Harville, eBay’s former director of global resiliency and James Baugh, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security.
The other four arrested were Stephanie Popp, eBay’s former senior manager of global intelligence; Stephanie Stockwell, the former manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center; Veronica Zea, a former eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst in the GIC; and Brian Gilbert, a former senior manager of special operations for eBay’s Global Security Team.
It was Harville and Baugh’s day in court today for sentencing after both had pleaded guilty to charges relating to the cyberstalking campaign.
In April, Baugh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of stalking through interstate travel, two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of witness tampering and two counts of destruction, alteration and falsification of records in a federal investigation.
In May, Harville pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of stalking through interstate travel and two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce.
Baugh was sentenced to 57 months in prison, two years of supervised release and a fine of $40,000. Harville received two years in jail, two years of supervised release and was fined $20,000.
Reuters reports that in court, both apologized to the Steiners. The Steiners had previously testified that they had been relentlessly terrorized by eBay’s employees. “As agents of eBay, they made our lives a living hell,” David Steiner told the judge.
U.S. District Judge Patti Saris described the cyberstalking scheme as “hard-to-image,” was fueled by a “toxic culture” at eBay and “was extreme and outrageous.”
The sentiment was shared by U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins, who said in a statement that “the defendants’ toxic brand of online and real-world harassment, threats and stalking was outrageous, cruel and defies any explanation—all the more because these men were seasoned and highly paid security executives backed by the resources of a Fortune 500 corporation.”
The other participants in the cyberstalking campaign have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. A seventh participant in the cyberstalking campaign, Philip Cooke, a former police captain in Santa Clara, California, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in July.