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Former eBay Executive Gets Prison Term For Cyberstalking Campaign

James Baugh, a former eBay Inc. executive, pleaded guilty to being involved in a series of attacks against bloggers David and Ina Steiner amid a harassment campaign against them. Baugh was sentenced in a Massachusetts federal court to four years and nine months in prison. The Steiners ran a niche e-commerce blog that eBay executives believed was critical of the company, the Wall Street Journal reports. “This should serve as a strong reminder to all that holding positions of wealth and privilege does not absolve or shield criminals from accountability and incarceration,” said U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins. Baugh admitted he was part of a team of security officials who in 2020 were charged with taking part in a weekslong harassment campaign that included threatening emails and tweets, fake posts on Craigslist, and mysterious deliveries. For several weeks in 2019, he conspired with other eBay employees to send the Steiners threatening messages and creepy deliveries in the mail, among other things. Baugh and his co-workers escalated their tactics from messages to stalking. The Steiners believed suspicious vehicles were tailing them near their home, and reported other disturbing threats. They received mysterious packages, like a box of live cockroaches, a bloody pig mask, and a book about surviving a spouse’s death. EBay's campaign drew attention in 2020 after the employees, all members of the security team, were charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. Two of eBay’s highest ranking officials were involved, former eBay CEO Devin Wenig and his chief communications officer, Steve Wymer. The cyberstalking campaign was launched soon after the two executives embarked on a more aggressive public-relations strategy that included challenging publications such as EcommerceBytes. Wymer texted Wenig that they would “crush this lady,” referring to Ms. Steiner. The Steiners sued eBay, Wenig, and the other associates alleging violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The Steiners allege that the stalking campaign was not a rogue act by a few individuals, but one resembling organized crime by eBay and its top officials. Wenig and Wymer, who are no longer at eBay, have said they would not condone or participate in any harassment campaign.

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