eBay exec gets 5 years for sending spiders and cockroaches to online critics

James Baugh, eBay's former senior director of safety and security, was sentenced to almost five years in prison, while eBay's former director of global resiliency, David Harville, was given two years behind bars. Both pleaded guilty to charges in the case.

Baugh, Harville, and a number of other eBay executives in 2019 hatched a campaign to harass Ina and David Steiner, the editor and publisher of eCommercebytes, a website closely followed by online sellers. Prosecutors said the executives went after the couple after former eBay CEO Devin Wenig and other leaders inside the company were enraged by their coverage of the company. [...]

The campaign escalated further when the Steiners began to receive "disturbing deliveries" to their home outside of Boston, including a book on surviving the death of a spouse, a bloody pig mask, a fetal pig, a funeral wreath and live insects, prosecutors said. Additionally, Craigslist posts appeared online inviting strangers to experience sexual encounters at the victims' home.

Baugh, Harville and others also traveled from California to the Steiners' home to surveil the couple. They hoped to install a GPS tracker on the couples' vehicle, but the garage was locked, so Harville purchased tools to break in, according to prosecutors.

Five other eBay employees have pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the matter.

"I can't believe that rich white fratboys would do something like this" says prosecutor:

"The defendants' toxic brand of online and real-world harassment, threats, and stalking was outrageous, cruel and defies any explanation -- all the more because these men were seasoned and highly paid security executives backed by the resources of a Fortune 500 corporation," U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement. "Their behavior was reprehensible."

"Won't someone rid me of this meddlesome priest," rhetorically asks CEO:

A spokesperson for Wenig said an independent investigation has shown the former eBay CEO had no knowledge of the harassment campaign. "Devin never told anyone to do anything unethical or illegal and if he had known about it, he would have stopped it," the spokesperson said.

Wenig, who resigned as CEO in 2019, is not named in the case. The Steiners have filed a separate lawsuit against eBay, Wenig and former senior vice president Steve Wymer. That case is pending.

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8 Responses:

  1. B says:

    I can't tell if you think this is insufficient punishment, but having followed this case from the start I am quite pleased (and also shocked) the perpetrators are going to jail. People have been killed via swatting and the person who caused it has walked free, so I'm actually heartened that (a) they solved the case and (b) they are going to jail.

    I don't think it changes much, because henchmen probably can't use google. But at least someone got in trouble for this sort of stupidity.

    • jwz says:

      Oh, these people are fucking monsters.

      Also I am shocked and pleased every time a rich white guy gets prison time. It's like watching a horse play piano.

  2. 2

    Ooo free spiders

  3. Carlos says:

    If you're thinking "Holy cow, the powerful types actual got punished, sent to jail even!" about this, I have my doubts that none of the executive pyramid above these psychos knew anything about this.  It sounds more to me like a traditional "(relatively) small fish take the fall, powerful guys above them walk" situation.


  4. sleep says:

    they’re actually going to prison. to do real time. amazing, and more of this please

  5. MattyJ says:

    It's weird when you read something that really sounds like it should be a conspiracy theory but it turns out to be true.

  6. Joe Luser says:

    wanna connect this story to your recent murderbots story? easy peezy. the felonious former ceo is on the board of cruise murderbots inc.:


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