Feds: EBay Staff Sent Roaches, Pig Fetus to Critical Couple

6 former employees charged in scheme to harass newsletter staff
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2020 9:35 AM CDT
Feds: EBay Staff Sent Roaches, Pig Fetus to Critical Couple
Devin Wenig, then CEO of eBay, attends the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 23, 2018.   (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)

Six former employees of eBay were so "enraged" over a newsletter for eBay sellers that they sent the authors a pile of horrible stuff, including live cockroaches and spiders, a preserved pig fetus, and a bloody pig-face mask, say federal authorities. Involvement in the scheme to "emotionally and psychologically terrorize" the Massachusetts couple who ran the newsletter "goes pretty far up the chain at eBay," US Attorney Andrew Lelling said Monday, per NPR. James Baugh, eBay's former senior director of safety and security, and David Harville, the former director of global resiliency, are both charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. Then-CEO Devin Wenig had reportedly directed employees to "take her down," referring to the female editor of the newsletter, whose husband serves as publisher, per the Verge.

Officials from eBay believed the two were working with troll accounts to post negative content about eBay on social media. Those officials responded by creating Twitter accounts used to harass the couple; mailing over pornography, a funeral wreath, and a book on how to survive the loss of a spouse, among other items; and attempting to break into the couple's garage so as to install a tracking device on their car, per the feds. Police stumbled upon that act in August 2019. In a statement, eBay says it fired all employees involved in September, the same month Wenig left the company. Authorities didn't identify the newsletter or its authors. However, NPR names EcommerceBytes, a website and newsletter operated by Ina and David Steiner that focuses on struggles among eBay sellers. It has also published the earnings of top eBay executives, including Wenig. (More eBay stories.)

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