The logo for eBay Inc. displayed on a laptop.

eBay: Former employees allegedly applied cockroaches, spiders, and a ugly mask to harass a couple

The former workforce are accused of sending threatening messages to the couple, as perfectly as unsolicited offers like a mask meant to look like a bloody pig, fly larvae, are living spiders and a box of cockroaches. According to court files, they also posted the couple’s address to Craigslist and invited singles, couples and swingers to knock on their door “any time of working day or night.” Prosecutors also accused quite a few of the former personnel of flying from California to the couple’s dwelling in Massachusetts to “surveil” them, and even of trying to crack into their garage to put in a GPS tracker on their car.

The few, who are not named in the grievance, operate a news web site devoted to masking ecommerce, including firms these types of as eBay (EBAY) and Amazon (AMZN), that is often vital of the organizations, US Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling reported at a push meeting Monday. Lelling reported the pair was qualified by a systematic marketing campaign fueled by the methods of a Fortune 500 corporation.

“We’ve under no circumstances witnessed a corporation that did one thing like this right before,” Lelling stated. “It could be that it speaks to a society in Silicon Valley of working aggressively with a model.”

The previous eBay personnel include David Harville, 48, former Director of World wide Resiliency, and James Baugh, 45, former Senior Director of Protection and Stability. Other people billed include Stephanie Popp, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Stockwell and Veronica Zea. Gilbert was beforehand a police captain in California, according to the US Attorney’s Business.

Baugh and Harville were being both equally arrested Monday and are envisioned to have initial courtroom appearances afterwards on Monday in California and New York, respectively, according to the US Attorney’s Business office.

The other four defendants who have been billed are not in custody but are predicted to make initial appearances in federal courtroom in Boston at a afterwards day. All 6 defendants are billed with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses.

Prosecutors mentioned Baugh directed Popp, Stockwell, Zea and other unnamed employees to anonymously harass the few with the purpose of distracting them and producing them awkward to the stage wherever they would “halt crafting destructive article content about eBay,” in accordance to a legal complaint versus Baugh and Harville.

An lawyer for Zea experienced no remark on the fees. CNN has achieved out to lawyers for the other 5 defendants for comment.

The felony grievance alleges that workforce were being encouraged to focus on the few right after eBay executives had been disappointed with their protection of the enterprise and an unnamed govt texted, amongst other messages, “We are likely to crush this woman.”

The defendants’ program, prosecutors allege, was to harass the couple anonymously, and then have eBay reps present to help the pair, “making very good will toward eBay.”

In a statement posted to its web page Monday, eBay stated it was notified by law enforcement of suspicious steps by its protection staff in August 2019. The company “instantly released a in depth investigation,” and terminated all included workforce, like the company’s former main communications officer, in September, it claimed. (The previous main communications officer has not been accused of any criminal wrongdoing.)

The assertion said eBay’s board of administrators fashioned a specific committee to look into the make any difference with the enable of an outdoors law company, and that the organization cooperated completely and extensively with authorities.

“eBay does not tolerate this form of conduct. eBay apologizes to the afflicted people today and is sorry that they had been subjected to this. eBay retains its staff to substantial specifications of conduct and ethics and will proceed to consider correct action to make certain these specifications are followed,” the assertion mentioned.

In its statement, eBay explained an inside investigation of Devin Wenig, its CEO at the time of the incident, found that his communications were inappropriate, but that “there was no proof that he understood in advance or authorized the actions that were being later directed toward the blogger and her partner.”

CNN attempted to call Wenig for comment.

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