Six executives of the online auctioning site eBay have been charged in connection to a vengeful campaign against two critics. They now stand accused of inflicting an “extensive and disturbing campaign of harassment” against the Massachusetts couple. The married victims are authors of an online newsletter that had criticized eBay in 2019. What followed were months of stalking and threats made against them.
As of Monday evening, all six executives have been charged, and two have been arrested for spearheading the vindictive campaign.
A Terrorizing Campaign
Starting in August of 2019, a handful of executives at eBay aimed to terrorize the couple, allegedly at the direction of James Baugh and David Harville. At the time, Baugh was eBay’s global security and resiliency director while Harville was director of global resiliency.
After the couple had published unflattering reviews about eBay, employees used fake emails and social media accounts to bombard the couple with threats. But the stalking and intimidation quickly escalated in intensity.
The vengeful cadre sent pornography to a neighbor’s home, labelling it with the couple’s name. They also sent pizza to the couple’s home at 4:30am and even set up a garage sale at the couple’s house, instructing visitors to enter the home if no one was outside.
The pranks soon became even more disturbing. eBay officials began mailing boxes to the house containing live cockroaches and spiders. The threats heightened when the couple received a book titled “Grief Diaries: Surviving the Loss of a Spouse.” On one occasion, the eBay stalkers even sent a preserved pig fetus to the couple, though it never arrived.
Massachusetts Attorney General Andrew Lelling alleges that Baugh told employees that he wanted to “crush” the newsletter writers. In an obtained text message conversation between Baugh and an unnamed employee, he writes of their victim, “If we are ever going to take her down..now is the time.”
Holding the Perpetrators Responsible
The Commonwealth has charged six eBay officials with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to commit witness tampering. The accused include:
- James Baugh, former senior director of safety and security
- David Harville, former director of global security and resiliency
- Brian Gilbert, a former senior manager of special operations for eBay’s Global Security Team
- 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 Global Intel Center
Authorities have now arrested Baugh and Harville for their leadership in the campaign. Meanwhile, eBay says it fired all six employees last September, when the conspiracy first came to light.
“The Company cooperated fully and extensively with law enforcement authorities throughout the process,” said the special committee tasked with overseeing the investigation. “eBay does not tolerate this kind of behavior,” the statement said. It says that the company “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.”