Massachusetts, January 14: According to CBS News, the e-commerce giant eBay has consented to pay a $3 million felony fine in relation to the harassment and surveillance of a couple in Massachusetts, United States. The Department of Justice announced on Thursday, January 11, that eBay had entered into a deferred prosecution agreement after being charged criminally with two counts of stalking through interstate travel, two counts of stalking through electronic communications services, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of justice.

In August 2019, Ina and David Steiner received strange gifts and threats, such as real spiders, cockroaches, a death wreath, and a gory pig mask. Texas Woman Stole Goods And Sold on eBay For 19 Years! Sentenced To Prison And Ordered to Pay $3.8 Million.

A statement by acting US Attorney Joshua S. Levy read, "eBay engaged in absolutely horrific, criminal conduct. The company's employees and contractors involved in this campaign put the victims through pure hell, in a petrifying campaign aimed at silencing their reporting and protecting the eBay brand."

In light of their roles in publishing a newsletter that covered topics relevant to eBay sellers, Jim Baugh, eBay's former Senior Director of Safety and Security, and six other members of the security team targeted the victims between roughly August 5, 2019, and August 23, 2019, according to eBay's admissions. Senior eBay officials expressed frustration with the tone, content, and comments left under the articles in the newsletter. The DOJ further stated that correspondence between those executives and Baugh was the source of the harassment campaign.

As a retaliation, Baugh and his accomplices carried out a harassment campaign with the aim of scaring the victims and altering the reporting in the newsletter. A book on surviving the death of a spouse, a bloody pig mask, a foetal pig, a funeral wreath, and live insects were among the unidentified and unsettling deliveries made to the victims' homes as part of the campaign. Other actions included sending public and private tweets criticising the newsletter's content and threatening to visit the victims in Natick. Finally, a trip to Natick was made to monitor the victims and place a GPS tracking device on their vehicle. eBay Announces Layoffs, To Sack 500 Employees Citing 'Macroeconomic Situation'.

Craigslist advertisements urging the public to have sex at the victims' houses were another aspect of the harassment. According to the DOJ, Baugh made up statements to the police and had digital evidence erased when he found out about the police investigation into the harassment. Following an investigation, eBay fired every employee who had any involvement.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 14, 2024 07:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website