Six former eBay employees were indicted a few hours ago for allegedly carrying out a bizarre cyberbullying campaign that led to somewhat bizarre shipments: a bloody pig mask, a box with live roaches, or a (real) pig fetus.
The victims of this campaign were a couple who started a newsletter where they were very critical of the company. Following an internal investigation, eBay decided to fire the employees last September.
Funeral wreaths and books “to survive the loss of a spouse”
In August 2019, when this couple’s newsletter included an article about litigation involving eBay, two company executives allegedly “sent or forwarded text messages” suggesting that the time had come to “destroy the newsletter editor.”
It was then that he allegedly they started sending these horrifying articles to scare them. In addition to the bloody mask and the pig fetus, they were sent a funeral wreath and a book on ‘how to survive the loss of a spouse’.
As if that were not enough, then a series of private messages arrived on Twitter and public tweets in which they criticized the newsletter and threatened to pay a visit to the couple. The complaint also details that they allegedly planned to monitor the victims in their home and community.
According to the Justice Department, some of the defendants signed up for a software development conference in Boston, then headed to the victims’ home in Natick, Massachusetts.
The couple became aware of surveillance and alerted local police before they entered their home.
Supposedly they intended to break into the couple’s garage and install a GPS tracking device in their car, but the victims would have noticed the surveillance and notified the local police. EBay employees reportedly attempted to interfere with the investigation that followed.
James Baugh (former Senior Director of Security at eBay), David Harville (former Director of Global Resilience), Stephanie Stockwell (Head of the Global Intelligence Center), Stephanie Popp (Head of Global Intelligence), Brian Gilbert (Head of Special Operations) and Veronica Zea (former intelligence analyst as contractor for eBay) were arrested and charged with conspiring to carry out this cyber bullying.
“eBay apologizes to those affected and regrets that they have been subjected to this. eBay demands high standards of conduct and ethics from its employees and will continue to take appropriate measures to ensure that these standards are followed.”
The company apologized to the couple and issued a statement in which they affirm that they do not tolerate this type of behavior. This internal investigation also investigated whether the CEO of the company at the time (Devin Wenig) was involved in this incident.
From eBay they affirm that, “although Wenig’s communications were inappropriate, there was no evidence that she knew in advance or authorized the actions that were later directed at the blogger and her husband. ”
The defendants allegedly attempted to interfere by lying to both the police and eBay attorneys about their involvement in the campaign. They face penalties of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of up to $ 250,000.
Bloody pig masks and live cockroach boxes: former eBay employees accused of bizarre cyberbullying campaign