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eBay employees harassed a couple over criticism

by on16 June 2020

Over-the-top psychological terrorism

Six eBay employees including a former police captain harassed and cyberstalked a middle aged couple for publishing a newsletter which was critical of the company.

They sent fly larvae, live spiders, and a bloody pig mask to their home and travelled to conduct surveillance of the victims in an effort to get them to stop publishing.

During a news conference, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said the defendants conducted a "systematic campaign fuelled by the resources of a Fortune 500 company to emotionally and psychologically terrorise this middle-aged couple in Natick".

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, FBI special agent in charge of the bureau's Boston office, who cited the suspects' "elaborate and relentless campaign to stifle the publishers of an online newsletter out of fear that bad publicity would adversely impact" the company.

The defendants have been named as James Baugh, David Harville, Stephanie Popp, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Stockwell, and Veronica Zea. Lelling said Baugh has been arrested in New York. It was not immediately clear when he'd make his initial appearance in US District Court in Boston

The remaining defendants, including Gilbert, the former police captain, weren't yet in custody.

The now-fired eBay officials also sent items including pornography to the couple's neighbours in the couple's names, posted listings on Craigslist urging swingers and couples to come to the Natick couples' home to party every night after 10 pm.

They created fake social media accounts to send messages to the couple including one that said, "do I have your attention now?"

A complaint filed in the case by FBI Special Agent Mark Wilson said the "campaign included: sending anonymous, threatening communications to the Victims; ordering unwanted and disturbing deliveries to their home, including funeral wreaths and books on surviving the loss of a spouse.

Baugh, Harville,  Zea, and Popp even travelled across country to spy on victims at their home and in their community."

According to the complaint, two eBay officials, identified in court papers only as Executive 1 and Executive 2, followed the couple's newsletter with interest. In April 2019, Executive 2 told Executive 1 via text message, "We are going to crush this lady", referring to the woman who put out the newsletter along with her husband, the complaint said.

Last modified on 16 June 2020
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