Two former high-level security executives at eBay, including James Baugh, former Senior Director of Safety & Security, and David Harville, former Director of Global Resiliency, have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a physical and cyberstalking campaign targeting the editor and publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company.
eBay stalking case timeline
In August 2019, Harville, Baugh and five co-conspirators at eBay agreed to engage in a harassment campaign targeting a husband and wife in Natick, Massachusetts for their roles in publishing a newsletter that reported on issues of interest to eBay sellers.
The defendants and their co-conspirators executed a three-part harassment campaign that was intended to intimidate the victims and influence their reporting about eBay. The campaign included sending anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home; sending private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content; threats to visit the victims in Natick; and traveling to Natick to surveil the victims and installing a GPS tracking device on their car.
In August 2019, Baugh, Harville and a co-conspirator traveled from California to Natick to surveil the victims and install a GPS tracking device on the victims’ car. The victims spotted the surveillance team and contacted local police. Harville also purchased tools intending to break into the victims’ garage and lied to an eBay investigator who was responding to the Natick Police’s request for assistance.
After learning of the police’s investigation, Harville and Baugh deleted digital evidence related to the stalking campaign. Additionally, Baugh made false statements to police and internal investigators and falsified records intended to throw the police off the trail.
eBay security executive sentencing
Baugh, eBay's former senior security executive, was sentenced to 57 months in prison and two years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Baugh was also ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. Harville was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of supervised release. Harville was also ordered to pay a fine of $20,000.
“Both men demonstrated a clear contempt for the law when they weaponized eBay’s security department to engage in an incredibly disturbing pattern of retaliatory harassment and intimidation to torment this couple,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “While today’s sentencings cannot erase the substantial distress their victims suffered, it does make it crystal clear that anyone who goes online to threaten, intimidate or harass others will face real-world consequences, including federal prison time.”
Harville and Baugh were arrested and charged in June 2020. Co-conspirators and former eBay employees Philip Cooke, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Popp, Veronica Zea and Stephanie Stockwell previously pleaded guilty for their roles in a conspiracy to cyberstalk the victims. Cooke was sentenced in July 2021 to 18 months in prison. Gilbert, Popp, Zea and Stockwell are awaiting sentencing.
According to the Department of Justice, eBay provided valuable assistance and cooperation with the investigation.