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Former eBay Execs Get Prison Sentences for Cyberstalking

They were also fined tens of thousands of dollars for their role in harassing a couple who published a newsletter critical of eBay.

eBay logo on a phone that's lying on a computer keyboard
Angela Lang/CNET

Two former eBay executives have been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty in regard to a cyberstalking campaign aimed at a couple who edited and published a newsletter criticizing the online store.

James Baugh was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison and two years of supervised release, as well as being ordered to pay a $40,000 fine, the US Department of Justice said Thursday. David Harville was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. 

Baugh, eBay's former senior director of safety and security, and Harville, former director of global resiliency, were arrested in June 2020 and charged with cyberstalking a couple. According to the Justice Department, Harville, Baugh and five other former eBay employees harassed a husband and wife between Aug. 5, 2019, and Sept. 6, 2019, by sending them threatening messages, a box of live cockroaches, a funeral wreath, a book on surviving the death of a spouse and a bloody pig mask, as well as placing a GPS tracker on their car.

Online harassment involved tweets that included the victims' home address, and Craigslist postings inviting people to experience sexual encounters at the victims' home, the Justice Department said.

Baugh pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and facilities of interstate commerce; two counts of stalking through interstate travel; two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce; two counts of witness tampering; and two counts of destruction, alteration and falsification of records in a federal investigation.

Harville pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and facilities of interstate commerce; two counts of stalking through interstate travel; and two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce.

Baugh and Harville "weaponized eBay's security department to engage in an incredibly disturbing pattern of retaliatory harassment and intimidation to torment this couple," Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, said in a statement Thursday. 

Five other former eBay employees have likewise pleaded guilty for helping in the cyberstalking campaign. One was sentenced in July 2021 to 18 months in prison, while the four others await sentencing.

eBay didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but in 2020 the company said it had launched an internal investigation and fired the employees after law enforcement notified eBay about "suspicious actions by its security personnel toward a blogger, who writes about the company, and her husband."