2019 represented a difficult year for eBay. The ecommerce company faced one of its most controversial episodes in its history when it became known that several of its employees engaged in criminal behavior.
Just last year, several eBay employees were found guilty of harassing and terrorizing a Massachusetts-based couple.
Since that year, the employees have been fired, although it is until today that two of them were formally found guilty of the crime.
eBay and the harassment scandal involving seven of its employees
- Two eBay Employees Plead Guilty to Participating in Scheme to Harass and Terrorize Couple in Massachusetts
- Brian Gilbert and Stephanie Stockwell were part of a group of employees accused of cyberstalking and conspiring against eBay customers
- Each former employee is expected to serve a sentence of between two and three years
In accordance with information from The Daily Mail portal, eBay has begun to take the first steps to close one of its gravest episodes, in which seven former employees conspired to cyberstalk a couple in Massachusetts.
Two former employees have admitted their participation in a campaign to terrorize a couple in Massachusetts via social media and home delivery of packages.
The former eBay employees made a joint decision to threaten the couple by sending them disturbing messages through their social networks and packages.
For a year, eBay was aware of this event, but it is not until today that Brian Gilbert and Stephanie Stockwell have confessed their participation in this conspiracy.
Brian Gilbert, 52, was a senior operations manager for eBay’s Global Security Team; Stephanie Stockwell, 26, was the manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center.
In recent days, both pleaded guilty to having participated in a conspiracy to cyber-harass the couple, as well as to manipulate potential witnesses.
Two senior eBay executives plead guilty to cyberbullying
Both Gilbert and Stockwell are part of the same group of former company employees who were charged in the scheme to harass the couple.
The apparent motive for committing this crime was due to the fact that David and Ina Steiner started an online project, through a newsletter in which the online auction platform was harshly criticized.
The Steinerl website, ECommerceBytes.com appears to have posed a threat that led to a cyber revenge by seven eBay employees; all have been fired and brought before the authorities.
Gilbert and Stockwell are not the only senior officials involved in the case.
Before, five employees pleaded guilty and each faces charges that can range from two to three years in prison.
Among the five employees who were brought before authorities was Philip Cooke, a 55-year-old former police captain, based in Santa Clara.
The federal prosecutors in charge of the case stated that the conspiracy plan against the couple began in August 2019.
In that month, David and Ina Steiner published an article in which they recounted details about a lawsuit against eBay, prompting two company executives to initiate a plan to put a stop to the couple’s content.
Among that plan, it was found that the executives sent several messages, among which one message stood out: “It is time to end them.”
The ‘Executive 1’ who was accused as a participant in this plan was finally identified as Devin Wenig, former CEO of the company.
So far, Wenig has insisted on his innocence to the authorities, declaring that he did not know about the incident or be involved in it.
Seven former eBay employees are brought to justice in the United States for harassment
The former employees’ plan to harass the couple included sending anonymous messages, threats and delivering packages containing content.disturbing‘.
The parcel received by the couple included a box of live cockroaches, a funeral wreath and a pig fetus.
In addition, to all these shipments one more crime was added: constant spying on the victims.
The employees’ plan also included sending messages via social networks, with Ina Steiner being their main victim.
According to documents shared by the Court, Steiner received a mask full of pig blood, accompanied by a direct message on Twitter that read the phrase: “Do I already have your attention?”
One of the ways in which the seven former employees carried out their conspiracy was through the creation of fake and anonymous emails.
Thus, they were able to successfully send a box full of spiders to the door of the Steiner home.
The threats began to escalate in severity, and soon the couple received a book whose main topic was how to survive the loss of a spouse.
All the crimes were admitted by Gilbert, who pleaded guilty to having composed and sent direct messages on Twitter to the couple.
The eBay employees’ conspiracy also included a plan for authorities to drop any accusations against them. The plan? Make the couple look like a couple of unstable people.
What his attackers did not count on was that the Steiners were aware of his intentions.
After realizing that a surveillance team was close to them, and it was at that moment that they decided to turn to the local authorities.
All of the defendants denied that the surveillance equipment was shipped by eBay.
Inspired by a movie: a case that will go down in eBay history
FBI agent Joseph Bonavolonta managed to crack the case. According to research conducted by experts, the group of former employees was inspired by the movie Johnny Be Good, in which a group of friends sent a series of strange objects to the team coach.
This action not only resulted in the immediate dismissal of those involved, but each faces a sentence of up to five years, although Stockwell and Gilbert could spend no more than three years in prison.
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