The other former eBay employees charged are Stephanie Popp, former senior manager of global intelligence; Brian Gilbert, former senior manager of special operations for eBay’s Global Security Team; Stephanie Stockwell, former manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center; and Veronica Zea, a former eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst in the Global Intelligence Center.
In a Monday statement, eBay said that it was not aware of the harassment until it was contacted by law enforcement last August, and added that the company “does not tolerate this kind of behavior”. Baugh, Harville, and Zea (and later Popp) allegedly drove to the victims’ home in Natick several times, with Harville and Baugh intending at one point to break into the victims’ garage and install a Global Positioning System tracking device on their vehicle.
In a statement, eBay said it immediately launched a “comprehensive investigation” of the matter with outside legal counsel once law enforcement informed them of the alleged harassment in August 2019.
Authorities said Monday that the employees set out to terrify the MA couple that ran the newsletter with threatening messages and deliveries because executives were upset about the newsletter’s coverage of the company.
Baugh and Harville were both arrested Monday and are expected to have initial court appearances later on Monday in California and NY, respectively, according to the US Attorney’s Office.
The independent special committee formed by eBay’s Board of Directors to oversee the Company’s investigation into this matter said, “eBay took these allegations very seriously from the outset”. The article also discussed an executive, referred only in court documents as “Executive 1”, according to court documents. The Justice Department complaint alleges the eBay employees sent texts saying it was time to “take down” the editor and publisher.
The former employees are accused of sending threatening messages to the couple, as well as unsolicited packages including a mask meant to look like a bloody pig, fly larvae, live spiders and a box of cockroaches. “Victim 1 similarly began to receive a torrent of tweets and direct messages directed by BAUGH, drafted by Popp, and approved by Gilbert” and another supervisor. As protection in the event they were stopped by local police, Baugh and Harville allegedly carried false documents purporting to show that they were investigating the victims as “Persons of Interest” who had threatened eBay executives. “Ppl will do ANYTHING 2 protect family!” Prosecutors also accused several of the former employees of flying from California to the couple’s home in MA to “surveil” them, and even of attempting to break into their garage to install a Global Positioning System tracker on their vehicle.
Lelling’s office said in a follow-up statement that the suspects also engaged in a plot to convince the couple eBay wanted to the help them. Gilbert, a former police captain in Santa Clara California, even reached out to the couple to offer help in stopping the harassment, authorities said.
In its statement, eBay said an internal investigation of Devin Wenig, its CEO at the time of the incident, found that his communications were inappropriate, but that “there was no evidence that he knew in advance or authorized the actions that were later directed toward the blogger and her husband”. “However, as the Company previously announced, there were a number of considerations leading to his departure from the Company”.
This is a breaking news story that will be updated.