Former EBay Employee Pleads Guilty To Harassing Critics With Spiders, Cockroaches: Report

All seven employees worked as high-ranking officials in eBay.

A former eBay employee has pleaded guilty to taking part in a bizarre scheme, which involved sending live insects to the home of journalists who were seen as critical of the company. David Harville is the seventh (and final) eBay employee charged in the case to please guilty, according to The Guardian.

Mr Harville worked as director of global resiliency at eBay. Six others who have admitted to their roles in targeting a journalist couple based in Massachusetts, the United States. These other employees are: James Baugh, Stephanie Popp, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Stockwell, Veronica Zea, and Philip Cooke.

They had devised a harassment campaign against Ina and David Steiner, who publish the EcommerceBytes newsletter, to stop them from publishing negative articles about eBay.

The scheme included sending items like box of live cockroaches, spiders, a bloody pig face mask, a funeral wreath and books about surviving the loss of a spouse to the journalists, The Guardian report further said, quoting the prosecutors.

These former employees also set up fake social media accounts to send threatening messages to the journalists and posted their home address online.

Mr Harville and others were charged in June 2020 in connection with the plot, which authorities said was orchestrated by eBay’s senior leadership team.

Mr Harville pleaded guilty to five felony counts during a video call with a Boston federal court judge on Thursday last week. According to the original filing, he took a flight from California to Boston with the intent of driving to the journalists’ home, breaking into the garage to place a GPS device in their vehicle.

Others involved in the plot also worked as senior executives in eBay – Ms Popp served was senior manager of global intelligence, Mr Gilbert was the senior manager of special operations, Mr Baugh worked as eBay’s senior director of safety and security and Ms Stockwell was a former manager for the company’s Global Intelligence Center.

Mr Cooke was sentenced to 18 months in prison in July last year. Mr Baugh too faces up to 20 years in prison and his sentencing will take place in September this year. Four others are currently awaiting sentencing.