Former eBay Execs Get Prison Time for "Extreme" Harassment Campaign Against Massachusetts Couple Including Sending Them Cockroaches, a Funeral Wreath and a Bloody Halloween Pig Mask

Prison Time, Hefty Fines Follow Cyberstalking

Two former eBay security executives were sentenced to prison last week for conducting an elaborate harassment campaign against a Massachusetts couple, which included sending them cockroaches, a funeral wreath, and a bloody Halloween pig mask. Read on to find out exactly what happened.

Prison Time, Hefty Fines Follow Cyberstalking

man handing cardboard box to person at postal office

Jim Baugh and David Harville were sentenced to 57 and 24 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the extensive harassment, which included making threats and disturbing home deliveries. The target of their campaign was a Natick, Massachusetts, couple whose online newsletter had offended eBay's CEO at the time.

Baugh, eBay's former senior director of safety and security, and Harville, its former director of global resiliency, were also fined $40,000 and $20,000, respectively, after pleading guilty to cyberstalking-related charges.

"Extreme and Outrageous"

Judge with a gavel

When U.S. District Judge Patti Saris handed down the sentence in Boston on Thursday, she called the duo's actions a "hard-to-imagine" scheme fueled by a "toxic culture" at eBay.

"It was extreme and outrageous," she said.

"Take Her Down"

Delivery man holding parcel boxes and ring the doorbell on the client's door in the morning background.

Married couple David and Ina Steiner published the newsletter EcommerceBytes, which senior executives of eBay considered critical of eBay and a threat to its business, prosecutors said. According to the CBC, in August 2019, then-CEO Devin Wenig texted another executive that it was time to "take her down," referring to Ina Steiner. (Wenig has not been charged and denies knowledge of the harassment.) 

The couple told the judge they were constantly terrorized by eBay's employees."As agents of eBay, they made our lives a living hell," David Steiner said.

Porn Magazines, Strange Tweets, Troubling Home Deliveries

Spiders climb around a box decoration idea.

CBC News reported that under Baugh's direction, the Steiners received anonymous, harassing Twitter messages, bizarre emails, and disturbing home deliveries like spiders and a book on surviving the loss of a spouse. Porn magazines labeled with the husband's name were sent to a neighbor's house, and a Craigslist ad was posted soliciting participants for sexual encounters at the victims' home.

eBay's Apology

sign outside of ebay's headquarters, original brand names

eBay apologized to the Steiners last year. "The misconduct of these former employees was wrong, and we will do what is fair and appropriate to try to address what the Steiners went through," the company said. "The events from 2019 should never have happened, and as eBay expressed to the Steiners, we are very sorry for what they endured."

The couple has sued the company and Wenig over the abuse.

Filed Under
 •  •