An important judicial precedent may mark the sentence against Jim Baugh and David Harville, two former security executives of eBaywho were sentenced to 57 and 24 months in prison, for bullying and harassing a Massachusetts couple.
All because David and Ina Steiner criticized eBay’s business policies in 2019 in the EcommerceBytes newsletter, which earned them threats and disruptive home deliveries from people in the company.
Baugh and Harville’s extensive campaign of harassment of the couple involved sending cockroaches to the couple, a funeral wreath and a bloody Halloween pig mask.
US District Judge Patti Saris, who imposed the sentence during hearings in Boston, called it a “hard to imagine” scheme fueled by a “toxic culture” at the Silicon Valley e-commerce company.
“It was extreme and outrageous,” Saris told Reuters.
It ordered Baugh, eBay’s former senior director of safety and security, and Harville, its former director of global resiliency, to also pay fines of $40,000 and $20,000, respectively, after pleading guilty to charges related to cyberbullying.
“As eBay agents, they made our lives hell,” David Steiner told the judge.
Prosecutors said senior executives found the newsletter critical of eBay, and in August 2019, then-CEO Devin Wenig texted another executive saying it was time to “take her down,” referring to Ina Steiner. .
At Baugh’s direction, the Steiners received anonymous and harassing Twitter messages, bizarre emails and unwanted home deliveries like spiders and a book on surviving the loss of a spouse, prosecutors said.
They said other eBay employees involved included Harville, whom Baugh recruited with a contractor for an “operation” to keep tabs on the Steiners and unsuccessfully attempt to install GPS in their car.