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Two former eBay executives sentenced to prison for their involvement in a cyberbullying scheme

eBay headquarters in San Jose, California, USA

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two elders eBay frames were sentenced to prison terms Thursday for their involvement in a cyberstalking scheme that targeted a couple behind an e-commerce blog perceived to be critical of the business.

James Baugh, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, was sentenced to nearly five years in prison, while eBay’s former director of global resilience, David Harville, was sentenced two years behind bars. Both pleaded guilty to the charges in the case.

Baugh, Harville and a number of other eBay executives launched a campaign in 2019 to harass Ina and David Steiner, editor and publisher of eCommercebytes, a website closely watched by online sellers. Prosecutors said executives sued the couple after former eBay CEO Devin Wenig and other company executives were enraged by their coverage of the company.

What unfolded was a bizarre and convoluted “three-part harassment campaign” that was intended to “intimidate” the Steiners and influence their reporting on 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 of Boston, including a book about surviving the death of a spouse, a bloody pig mask, a fetal pig, a funeral wreath and live insects, prosecutors said. . Additionally, Craigslist posts have appeared online inviting strangers to have sexual encounters at victims’ homes.

Baugh, Harville and others also traveled from California to the Steiners’ home to check on the couple. They had hoped to install a GPS tracker on the couples’ vehicle, but the garage was locked, so Harville purchased tools to break in, prosecutors said.

Five other eBay employees have pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the case.

“The toxic brand of harassment, threats and harassment online and in the real world of the defendants was outrageous, cruel and defies explanation – especially since these men were seasoned and highly paid security executives supported by the resources of a Fortune 500 company,” U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement. “Their behavior was reprehensible.

An eBay spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Ina Steiner did not immediately return a request for comment.

A Wenig spokesperson said an independent investigation showed the former eBay CEO had no knowledge of the harassment campaign. “Devin never told anyone to do anything unethical or illegal and if he had known he would have stopped it,” the spokesperson said.

Wenig, who stepped down as CEO in 2019, is not named in the case. The Steiners filed a separate lawsuit against eBay, Wenig and former senior vice president Steve Wymer. This case is pending.

“We believe that everyone who played a role should be held accountable,” wrote Ina Steiner. in a blog post Wednesday.

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