The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts has announced that two former eBay security executives have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a bizarre 2019 scheme intended to put a Natick couple out of business for publishing content they deemed critical of the online marketplace. Charges included stalking, witness tampering, destruction and falsification of records, and more.
The former Senior Director of Safety & Security at eBay and the company’s former Director of Global Resiliency were sentenced to 57 and 24 months in prison, respectively, plus subsequent supervised release and fines. Both apologized in court for their roles in the activities, which involved numerous other eBay employees.
“The defendants’ toxic brand of online and real-world harassment, threats, and stalking was outrageous, cruel and defies any explanation—all the more because these men were seasoned and highly paid security executives backed by the resources of a Fortune 500 corporation. Their behavior was reprehensible,” said United States Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Five of their colleagues have already pleaded guilty, and have either been sentenced or await sentencing in conjunction with the efforts to threaten and intimidate Ina and David Steiner over their eCommerceBytes newsletter.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office:
“The defendants and their co-conspirators executed a three-part harassment campaign intended to intimidate the victims and to influence their reporting about eBay. The campaign included sending anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home; sending private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content; threats to visit the victims in Natick; and traveling to Natick to surveil the victims and installing a GPS tracking device on their car.”
The deliveries ordered to the victims’ home included a book on surviving the death of a spouse, a bloody pig mask, a fetal pig, a funeral wreath and live insects. The harassment also featured Craigslist posts inviting members of the public to experience sexual encounters at the victims’ home.
A civil suit by the Steiners vs. eBay and its leaders is pending.
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