Ex-eBay Exec pleads guilty to cyberstalking role
BOSTON (AP) — A former top security official at eBay Inc. has pleaded guilty to his role in a campaign to harass and intimidate a Massachusetts couple who posted an online newsletter he perceived to be critical of the regard to the company.
James Baugh, 47, of San Jose, Calif. – a former senior director of safety and security at eBay – admitted in federal court in Boston on Monday to nine counts related to the campaign that involved disturbing deliveries – including live insects, a bloody pig’s face mask and a book about surviving the loss of a spouse – at the victims’ home, federal prosecutors said.
The bullying began when senior eBay executives became frustrated with the tone and content of the newsletter, according to federal documents.
The harassment campaign also included online posts inviting the public to sexual encounters at the victims’ homes and a trip to the Boston area to spy on the victims in an effort to install a GPS device in their vehicle, authorities said. federal.
The Natick couple spotted the surveillance and contacted local police. After learning of police involvement, Baugh lied to investigators, suppressed digital evidence and tampered with records, authorities said.
A voicemail was left Tuesday with Baugh’s attorney.
Baugh was one of seven eBay employees or contractors charged in the harassment scheme that ran from August 2019 to August 2020. He is the sixth to plead guilty. One of them has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. San Jose-based eBay has already said it was fired.
Baugh faces decades in prison when sentencing on September 22, if he receives the maximum sentence.
Massachusetts couple Ina and David Steiner, who publish the EcommerceBytes newsletter, sued eBay and several employees, including former CEO Devin Wenig last summer, for what they described as a conspiracy to “intimidate, threaten to kill, torture, terrorize, hunt down and silence them” in order to “stifle their reporting on eBay”.
The lawsuit alleges the employees were “carrying out directions from Wenig” and another executive. Wenig has not been criminally charged, has denied any knowledge of the harassment campaign, and his lawyers have asked that the Steiners’ claims against him be dismissed.
He stepped down as CEO of eBay in September 2019.
The trial has been suspended while the parties negotiate a settlement, according to court records.
The Silicon Valley giant apologized to the couple and said it had cooperated fully with law enforcement’s investigation.