By cyber-stalking, I don’t mean that they were trolling them on Twitter and Facebook. I mean that they were sending them bloody pig masks, cockroaches, funeral wreaths, late night pizza deliveries, and explicitly labeled pr0n.
Not only that, it appears that the (also former) CEO of eBay, while not arrested, may have been fired as a result of these activities.
This is f%$#ed up and sh%$:
Six former eBay employees were “charged with leading a cyberstalking campaign” against a newsletter editor and publisher, which “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,” the US Department of Justice and US Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts announced today.
James Baugh, 45, is eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, and David Harville, 48, is eBay’s former director of global resiliency—both were arrested today and charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. Each charge “carr[ies] a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution,” the DOJ said.
The bloody pig mask was a Halloween mask and shipped via Amazon.com, a court document said. The mask arrived at the victims’ home the same day one of the victims “received an email reporting that a ‘Preserved Fetal Pig’ had been ordered online to be sent to the Victims’ house,” the document said. A few days later, the victims “received a box of cockroaches” that was purchased from a roach breeder and seller.
The alleged targets were a couple in Natick, Massachusetts, who publish an online newsletter that covers e-commerce companies and which “eBay executives viewed as critical of the company,” the DOJ said. One alleged victim is a reporter and editor for the newsletter, while her husband is the publisher. The alleged victims’ names and the news website they operate are not identified in the charging documents filed in US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
SAC Joe Bonavolonta, MA USA Andy Lelling & Natick Police Chief Jim Hicks announce charges against six @eBay employees for an aggressive cyberstalking campaign targeting the editor & publisher of an online newsletter. They’re also charged with obstructing our investigation. pic.twitter.com/yBRWL7SvaO
— FBI Boston (@FBIBoston) June 15, 2020
The alleged crimes took place in August and September 2019. Four other former eBay employees weren’t arrested today but face the same charges. They are Stephanie Popp, 32, eBay’s former senior manager of global intelligence; Stephanie Stockwell, 26, former manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center (GIC); Veronica Zea, 26, a former eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst in the GIC; and Brian Gilbert, 51, a former senior manager of special operations for eBay’s Global Security Team. Harville is from New York City while the other five defendants are from California.
Thirdly, the defendants allegedly conducted surveillance of the editor/publisher couple. After registering for a software-development conference as a pretext to go to Boston, “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,” the DOJ said. “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.”
eBay issued a statement today saying that it “immediately launched a comprehensive investigation” upon being notified by law enforcement. “As a result of the investigation, eBay terminated all involved employees, including the company’s former Chief Communications Officer, in September 2019,” eBay said.
eBay further said that it “does not tolerate this kind of behavior” and “apologizes to the affected individuals and is sorry that they were subjected to this.”
Devin Wenig was the CEO of eBay at the time of the incidents and left the company in September 2019. eBay said that its “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.”
Also, even without the whole fetal pig thing, the fact that eBay has a senior manager of global intelligence, a manager of their Global Intelligence Center (GIC), with intelligence analysts, and a senior manager of special operations for eBay’s Global Security Team is completely and totally whack.
I understand the need for security to prevent things like industrial espionage, but the fact that eBay has a paramilitary wing is an indication of some deeper problems in the organization.