eBay headquarters in San Jose, California, USA
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Two former eBay executives they got jail time Thursday for their involvement in a cyberstalking scheme targeting a couple behind an e-commerce blog that was perceived as critical of the company.
James Baugh, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, was sentenced to almost five years in prison, while eBay’s former director of global sustainability, David Harville, received two years behind bars.
Bogue, Harvill and a number of other eBay executives in 2019 mounted a campaign of harassment against Ina and David Steiner, editor and publisher of eCommercebytes, a website closely followed by online sellers. Prosecutors said the executives were urged by former eBay CEO Devin Wenig to go after the pair after he and other leaders at the company were angered by their coverage of the company.
What unfolded was a bizarre and convoluted “three-part harassment campaign” that was intended to “intimidate” Steiner and influence their reporting about the company, prosecutors said in a statement.
EBay executives repeatedly sent the couple harassing and threatening messages on Twitter. The campaign escalated further when the Steiners began receiving “disturbing deliveries” to their home outside Boston, including a book about surviving the death of a husband, a bloody pig mask, a pig embryo, a funeral wreath and live insects, prosecutors said. In addition, Craigslist postings appeared online inviting strangers to experience sexual intercourse in victims’ homes.
Bogue, Harvill and others also traveled from California to Steiner’s home to observe the couple. They had hoped to install a GPS tracker on the couples’ car, but the garage was locked, so Harvill purchased tools to break in.
Five other eBay employees have pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the matter.
“The defendants’ toxic brand of online and real-life harassment, threats, and stalking was outrageous, cruel, and inexplicable — especially since these men were experienced and highly paid security executives backed by the resources of a Fortune 500 corporation,” it said. in a statement by US Attorney Rachel Rollins. Their behavior was reprehensible.
An eBay spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Ina Steiner did not immediately return a request for comment.
Wenig, who resigned as CEO in 2019, was not named in the case. The Steiners have filed a separate lawsuit against eBay, Wenig and former senior vice president Steve Weimer. This case is pending.
“We believe that everyone who played a role should be held accountable,” writes Ina Steiner in a blog post for the case on Wednesday.
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