2014 cyber attack
E-commerce company eBay Inc. has agreed to pay a $3 million penalty to settle criminal charges related to a cyber attack in 2014.
Employees have been carrying out a campaign of harassment.
The individual responsible for sending live spiders, cockroaches, and other unsettling objects has been identified.
Residence of a couple from Massachusetts.
As stated in legal documents submitted on Thursday.
The Justice Department has filed a criminal information against eBay for charges of stalking, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. The company’s employees were previously charged for their involvement in a plot to intimidate David and Ina Steiner over three years ago. The Steiners ran an online newsletter, EcommerceBytes, which had angered eBay executives with its content.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts has stated that eBay has agreed to a deferred prosecution deal, which may lead to the dismissal of charges against the company if it follows specific requirements.
According to legal documents, the former CEO of eBay, Devin Wenig, sent a message to a high-ranking executive instructing them to take action against Ina Steiner, stating “now is the time.” The executive then forwarded the message to James Baugh, senior director of safety and security at eBay, referring to Steiner as a “biased troll who deserves to be taken down.”
In the case, Baugh, along with six other previous employees, admitted guilt and were sentenced in 2022. Baugh received a punishment of nearly five years in jail, while Harville, another former executive, was given a two-year sentence.
Wenig, who resigned as CEO in 2019, was not accused of any criminal charges in the incident. He has also denied any involvement or awareness of the harassment campaign and has not instructed anyone to engage in illegal activities. In the civil case, his legal team has argued that the quote “take her down” was misinterpreted and should be understood as a call for “lawful action” rather than “bizarre criminal acts.”
According to authorities, Baugh was identified as the leader of the plot and he convinced Harville to accompany him on a trip to Boston to gather information on the Steiners. Along with another eBay employee, Baugh and Harville attempted to place a GPS tracker on the Steiners’ car by visiting their residence. However, they were unable to enter the garage, so Harville purchased tools with the intention of breaking in.
According to Harville’s lawyers, he played no part in or was aware of the threatening messages or deliveries sent by his coworkers.
According to Baugh’s attorneys, their client was under constant pressure from Wenig and other company leaders to take action against the Steiners. Baugh claims that he was subsequently forced out by the company when they brought in outside lawyers to conduct an “internal investigation” in order to protect the company and its top executives from potential legal consequences.