Ex-eBay execs jailed for cyberstalking critical bloggers • The Register

Ex-eBay execs jailed for cyberstalking critical bloggers • The Register


Two now-former eBay executives who pleaded guilty to cyberstalking charges this year have been sent down and fined tens of thousands of dollars.

James Baugh, ex-senior director of safety and security at the internet tat bazaar, was sentenced to nearly five years – 57 months – behind bars, plus two years of supervised release and fined $40,000 for harassing, both electronically and physically, Ina and David Steiner, who produce EcommerceBytes, a website and newsletter critical of eBay.

David Harville, eBay’s former director of global resiliency, was sentenced to two years in prison plus two years supervised release, and fined $20,000 for his role in what prosecutors described as a harassment campaign directed at the Steiners. 

Harville and Baugh were convicted of harassing, while eBay employees, the couple on Twitter; sending anonymous deliveries to the journalists that included a fetal pig, funeral wreath, and live insects; posting Craigslist ads for sex parties at the couple’s home; and finally flying across the country in 2019 to spy on the pair and attach a GPS tracker to their car.

eBay fired Baugh, Harville, and five co-defendants – also eBay staff – that year when news of the harassment campaign reached senior executives. Of the seven collared in 2020 for their role in the intimidation operation, only Harville and Bough protested their innocence, the rest admitting their crimes, though both men changed their pleas to guilty earlier this year. 

Harville and Bough were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of stalking through interstate travel, and two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce. 

Baugh was additionally convicted of two counts of witness tampering, and two counts of destruction, alteration, and falsification of records in a federal investigation.

One of Harville and Baugh’s co-defendants was sentenced to 18 months in the cooler in July last year, while the others are still awaiting sentencing.

eCommerceByes back with civil case

Writing about the conviction of Harville and Baugh on eCommerceBytes, Ina Steiner said she and her husband had filed a civil case against eBay, former CEO Devin Wenig, and former Chief Communications Officer Steve Wymer, alleging that the pair of men were pulling the strings of Harville, Baugh and their co-conspirators. Specifically, the Steiners filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, lawsuit against those involved.

The RICO Act was more famously used to disrupt the influence of the Italian Mafia, and has also been used to bring charges against FIFA and other organizations that are ostensibly not criminal outfits.

Per the complaint [PDF], “Defendants Wenig and Wymer provided the other defendants with carte blanche authority to terminate the reporting of the Steiners by whatever means necessary.” 

The Steiners are seeking monetary relief for their years of harassment at the hands of eBay, with the amount to be determined at trial. There has been a flurry of activity in the case since its filing last year, including multiple attempts by eBay to have the case dismissed, and several requests for extending filing deadlines. No trial date has been set. ®

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