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Former eBay intelligence analyst convicted in cyberstalking case

A former eBay intelligence analyst was sentenced in Boston federal court on Thursday for cyberstalking of a couple from Massachusetts which published a newsletter that company executives deemed critical of e-commerce, the office of U.S. Attorney Rachael S. Rollins said.

Veronica Zea, 28, of San Jose, Calif., who worked as a contractor at eBay’s Global Intelligence Center (GIC), was sentenced to two years probation with her first year to be served at home. She was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.

Zea pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses in October 2020, according to Rollins’ office.

Between August 2019 and September 2019, Zea and the eBay co-conspirators engaged in a harassment campaign targeting a husband and wife in Natick for their roles by publishing a newsletter that reported on issues of concern to eBay sellers, have prosecutors said.

“Senior eBay executives were frustrated with the tone and content of the newsletter as well as the substance of the comments posted below the newsletter articles,” Rollins’ office said. “The harassment campaign grew out of communications between these senior executives and [James] Baugh, who was eBay’s senior security employee.

In August, Zea and his co-conspirators waged what prosecutors called a “three-part harassment campaign” to intimidate victims and influence their reporting on the company.

The harassment included sending private and public threats to the victims and traveling to Natick to monitor the victims and installing a GPS tracking device on their car. They also had deliveries sent to neighbors of victims including a preserved fetal pig, a funeral wreath, a book on surviving the loss of a spouse, and pornography, all addressed to the couple.

Zea bought a prepaid debit card to use in the delivery campaign and ordered insects from the victims’ homes, prosecutors say.

“The harassment also included Craigslist posts inviting members of the public to experience sexual encounters at the victims’ homes,” prosecutors said.

Several of Zea’s co-conspirators have already been sentenced.

In October, Stephanie Popp, 34, of Louisville, Kentucky, a former senior director of global intelligence at eBay, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and two years probation. In addition, 28-year-old Stephanie Stockwell of Redwood City, Calif., the former director of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center, was sentenced to two years probation, including one year to be served under house arrest.

On September 29, Baugh was sentenced to 57 months in prison, two years of probation and was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine. That same day, co-conspirator David Harville was sentenced to two years in prison, two years on probation, and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.

Former eBay worker Philip Cooke was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2021. Brian Gilbert also pleaded guilty for his role in the plot but is still awaiting sentencing.

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