Four former employees of eBay are scheduled to plead guilty in Boston federal court for "participating in a cybertsalking campaign which targeted a Massachusetts couple," according to a tweet by the U.S. Attorney's Office of Massachusetts.
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According to The Boston Globe, the four expected to plead guilty are a former senior manager of global intelligence at eBay, Stephanie Popp, a former senior manager of special operations for eBay’s Global Security Team, Brian Gilbert; a manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center, Stephanie Stockwell; and an eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst at the Global Intelligence Center, Veronica Zea.
They are among seven former eBay employees charged in the case. Other known members of the group include James Baugh, eBay's former senior director of safety and security, and David Harville, the company's former director of global resiliency.
A complaint filed in the United States District Court of Massachusetts back in June alleges the group of ex-eBay employees engaged in an "extensive harrassement campaign" targeting the couple, who were publishers of an online newsletter which covered e-commerce companies, including eBay.
The complaint notes that the ex-employees were upset by negative coverage of the company, including an August 2019 article about a lawsuit filed by eBay accusing Amazon of poaching its sellers, and were convinced that anonymous commenters, which included parody accounts, were colluding with the couple.
In addition to sending anonymous, threatening communications through Twitter and publicly posting the couple's home address online, the group sent unwanted and disturbing deliveries addressed to the couple's home, including live spiders and cockroaches, pornographic magazines, a pig fetus, a bloody pig Halloween mask, funeral wreaths and books on surviving the loss of a spouse. Federal investigators added that several of the defendants surveiled the couple's home and planned to break into the couple's garage to install a GPS device on their car.
After identifying one of the surveillance teams, the couple contacted the authorities who identified the group as eBay employees and reached out to the company for assistance.
As investigators and eBay's lawyers began to close in on the group, several defendants deleted evidence showing their involvement and tried to lie to local police about eBay's involvement, pretending to offer the company's assistance with the harassment.
California-based eBay said in a prepared statement that it immediately launched an internal investigation after being notified by law enforcement of "suspicious actions by its security personnel," and terminated the involved employees.
The court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. and will be conducted via Zoom.