Former eBay execs get prison time in cyberstalking case involving Twitter threats and fetal pig deliveries
Two of the eBay executives who were charged for staging a cyberstalking campaign against the creators of the eCommerceBytes newsletter have been sentenced to prison. The Justice Department says that these execs, along with five other former eBay employees, worked together to intimidate David and Ina Steiner. They apparently hatched a scheme targeting the Steiners shortly after Ina published an article in their newsletter about a lawsuit eBay filed accusing Amazon of poaching its sellers. David said the people involved in their harassment made their lives "a living hell."
James Baugh, eBay's former senior director of safety and security, was sentenced to almost five years in prison and was ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. Meanwhile, David Harville, eBay's former Director of Global Resiliency and the last person in the case who pleaded guilty, got a two-year sentence and was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
According to the DOJ, the group sent disturbing deliveries to the couple's home, including "a book on surviving the death of a spouse, a bloody pig mask, a fetal pig, a funeral wreath and live insects." They also sent the couple threatening Twitter messages and posted on Craigslist to invite the public to partake in sexual encounters at the victims' home. Authorities also said that Baugh, Harville and another eBay employee monitored the couple's home in person with the intention of attaching a GPS tracker to their car.
Based on the case's court documents, David Wenig, who was eBay's CEO at the time, sent another top exec a message that said "If you are ever going to take her down ... now is the time" 30 minutes after Ina's post was published. In turn, that executive sent Wenig's message to Baugh, adding that Ina was a "biased troll who needs to get BURNED DOWN." As The Washington Post notes, Wenig was not charged in the case but is facing a civil lawsuit from the Steiners, who accused him of attempting to "intimidate, threaten to kill, torture, terrorize, stalk and silence them." He denied any knowledge of the harassment campaign.
As for Baugh and Harville, both asked the Steiners for forgiveness, according to The Post. "I take 100% responsibility for this, and there is no excuse for what I have done. The bottom line is simply this: If I had done the right thing and been strong enough to make the right choice, we wouldn’t be here today, and for that I am truly sorry," Baugh said.