Six former eBay employees have been charged with undertaking a coordinated stalking campaign against a couple who ran an e-commerce newsletter, going so far as to mail them live bugs and a “bloody pig face” mask.
The Department of Justice alleges that the employees targeted the Natick, Mass. couple after executives at the site took issue with perceived negative coverage from the husband and wife’s newsletter.
The harassment began in August of 2019, according to the Department of Justice, after the eBay executives saw an article in the newsletter about litigation involving eBay, and sent messages about the publisher, saying it was time “to crush this lady.”
The employees, including eBay’s former director of safety and security James Baugh, set up a “three-part harassment campaign, the first of which involved the defendants ordering “anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victis’ home, including a preserved fetal pig, a bloody pig Halloween mask, a funeral wreath,” as well as “a book on surviving the loss of a spouse.”
The eBay employees also ordered pornography in the couple’s name, but intentionally had it sent to their neighbors’ homes.
Phase two of their reign of terror involved the workers sending Twitter messages criticizing the couple’s newsletter and threatening to visit them in person, as well as publicly sharing the victims’ home address.
The third phase involved “covertly surveilling the victims in their home and community,” including going to Boston with the intention of breaking into their garage and installing a GPS tracker on their car — a plot that was only foiled when the victims spotted the surveillance and told local police.
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.”
“eBay apologizes to the affected individuals and is sorry that they were subjected to this,” the statement continues. “eBay holds its employees to high standards of conduct and ethics and will continue to take appropriate action to ensure these standards are followed.”
The defendants each face a sentence of up to five years in jail, as well as a fine up to $250,000.