Former eBay CEO pleads guilty to live insect harassment campaign

eBay’s former director of global resilience, David Harville, pleaded guilty to participating in a bizarre campaign of harassment that involved sending live cockroaches, spiders, a bloodied pig face mask, and other strange objects to a Massachusetts couple (via the guard† Harville is the last of seven eBay employees to plead guilty to harassing and stalking the couple.

In 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) accused former eBay employees Harville, James Baugh, Stephanie Popp, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Stockwell, Veronica Zea and Philip Cooke of devising a campaign of harassment targeting Ina and David Steiner, the publishers behind the EcommerceBytes newsletter. The group’s plan was to intimidate the Steiners over the negative eBay coverage of their publication. Not only did it involve harassing the Steiners on Twitter and misusing their address online, but it later escalated to sending grotesque items to their home and personal surveillance.

Harville pleaded guilty to five felonies on Thursday during a video call with a federal court in Boston. According to the original filing, Harville allegedly took a flight from California to Boston with the intent of driving to the Steiner’s home, breaking into their garage, and attaching a GPS tracking device to their vehicle. Harville wasn’t the only senior person involved either — Popp was a former senior manager of global intelligence at eBay, Gilbert was the ex-senior manager of special operations, Baugh served as eBay’s senior director of safety and security, and Stockwell was a former manager of the Global Company Intelligence Center.

In April, Baugh pleaded guilty to the harassment program and faces up to 20 years in prison – his sentencing is set for September 29, 2022. Popp, Stockwell, Gilbert and Cooke all pleaded guilty in 2020. Cooke was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in prison.

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