The Justice Department says the case started in August 2019, when a couple in Natick, Mass., published an article about a lawsuit involving eBay on their e-commerce news site. The Justice Department complaint alleges the eBay employees sent texts saying it was time to “take down” the editor and publisher.
The employees sent pornography to the publisher’s neighbors in packages addressed to him, ordered the pig mask and a preserved fetal pig to be sent to the couple’s home, and also sent them a book about surviving the loss of a spouse, according to the complaint.
The victims are not named in the complaint.
The former eBay employees charged are James Baugh, who was eBay’s senior director of safety and security; David Harville, who was eBay’s director of global resiliency; eBay contractor Veronica Zea; and California employees Stephanie Popp, Stephanie Stockwell and Brian Gilbert, who is a former Santa Clara police captain.
Attempts to immediately reach the former employees were unsuccessful. EBay said in a statement Monday that it started investigating the incidents in August and fired all of the employees, including the company’s chief communications officer, who was not included in Monday’s charges. EBay also said that former CEO Devin Wenig was investigated.
“The internal investigation found that, while Mr. Wenig’s communications were inappropriate, there was no evidence that he knew in advance about or authorized the actions that were later directed toward the blogger and her husband,” the company wrote in a public post. “However, as the Company previously announced, there were a number of considerations leading to his departure from the Company.”
Wenig left the company in September, saying he was “not on the same page” as the board of directors.
The six eBay employees didn’t just stop with deliveries, the DOJ announcement alleges. Popp sent Twitter messages to one victim, the complaint said, including one that read “DO I HAVE UR ATTENTION NOW????” on the same day the bloody Halloween pig mask was ordered.
Popp also sent vulgar messages to the victim and created a Twitter account under a fake name to tweet critically about the newsletter’s editor.
The employees ordered pizzas to the couple’s home late at night, the complaint said. The case also alleges the employees put up a Craigslist ad with the couple’s address that said they were looking for sex partners.
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