Correction: originally reported that the eBay executives were still part of the company at the time of their arrest. This was incorrect, as they haven’t worked for eBay since Sept. 2019 (federal law enforcement approached eBay about the harassment coming from their executives in Aug. 2019).

eBay Harassment

EBay headquarters 2018.jpg
The eBay headquarters in San Jose, California (source)

In mid-June, 2020, six former executives from the top of eBay were arrested on federal charges stemming from a prolonged and methodical harassment campaign on a Natick, Massachusetts couple. Said eBay harassment campaign had been ongoing from 2019.

After becoming critical of the eCommerce platform on their online newsletter, the Natick couple suddenly became the target of plenty of movie-like circumstances: surveillance, GPS tracking, stalking, threatening mail, and non-stop cyber harassment from anonymous accounts.

The accused are all from New York and California (mostly San Jose where eBay is based), and used their powerful positions in the company to socially dominate the journalists in their hometown from across the country.

eBay Executives Arrested for Harassment Campaign

The following six defendants have been arrested and charged by criminal complaint for conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. These employees had already been terminated late last year when law enforcement approached eBay about their naughty executives circa August 2019.

James Baugh (45, San Jose, CA) – Former Senior Director of Safety & Security.

David Harville (48, New York City) – Former Director of Global Resiliency.

Stephanie Popp (32, San Jose, CA) – Former Senior Manager of Global Intelligence.

Veronica Zea (26, San Jose, CA) – Former eBay contractor (intelligence analyst in the GIC).

Stephanie Stockwell (26, Redwood City, CA) – Former manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center (GIC).

Brian Gilbert (51, San Jose, CA) – Former Senior Manager of Special Operations for eBay’s Global Security Team.


What They Did


These deliveries included fly larvae and live spiders, a box of live cockroaches, a sympathy wreath on the occasion of the death of a loved one, a book of advice on how to survive the death of a spouse, pornography mailed to their next door neighbors but in the couple’s names, Halloween masks featuring the face of the bloody pig, and the pig fetus which was ordered, but after an inquiry by the supplier, thankfully, wasn’t ever sent,” Lelling said.

On August 18 just after midnight, the eBay employees allegedly posted a classified ad on Craigslist claiming to be from the Natick couple inviting “singles, couples and swingers” to their house to party after 10 p.m. every night.

“People were encouraged to knock on the couple’s door, anytime day or night,” said Lelling.

via CBS Boston
A preview of some of the anonymized Twitter harassment. Seasoned internet users can see how forced the attempt at “hooligan” lingo is. (source)

“I don’t think I would characterize the conduct as rogue, because as seen in the complaint, the directive to do something about this goes pretty high up the chain within eBay,” said Lelling.

via CBS Boston
More of the Twitter messages the victims received (source)

As part of the second phase of the campaign, some of the defendants allegedly sent private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content and threatening to visit the victims in Natick. The documents allege that Baugh, Gilbert, Popp and another eBay security employee planned these messages to become increasingly disturbing, culminating with “doxing” the victims (i.e., publishing their home address). It is alleged that the very same group intended then to have Gilbert, a former Santa Clara police captain, approach the victims with an offer to help stop the harassment that the defendants were secretly causing, in an effort to promote good will towards eBay, generate more favorable coverage in the newsletter, and identify the individuals behind the anonymous comments.

The third phase of the campaign allegedly involved covertly surveilling the victims in their home and community. According to the complaint, Harville and Zea registered for a software development conference to explain their trip to Boston on Aug. 15, 2019. Baugh, Harville, and Zea (and later Popp) allegedly drove to the victims’ home in Natick several times, with Harville and Baugh intending at one point to break into the victims’ garage and install a GPS tracking device on their car.”


Read the full criminal complaint with all the details on DocumentCloud

An editorialized word from the author: If these clumsy executives got caught doing this, one has to wonder how frequently corporations use their immense resources to bring vulnerable, regular people to their knees like this. It sure makes the relatively recent hot-topic of gangstalking sound slightly less insane.


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