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Ex-California police captain pleads guilty to eBay cyberstalking case



(Reuters) – A former police captain who continued to work for eBay Inc. pleaded guilty on Tuesday to participating in a cyberstalking campaign against a couple in Massachusetts whose online newsletter was considered critical of the e-commerce company. ] Federal prosecutors in Boston said Philip Cooke, a former head of security operations at eBay's European and Asian offices, and other employees harassed the couple via Twitter and sent them disturbing packages like a bloody Halloween pig mask.

The 55-year-old former police chief in Santa Clara, California, was the third former eBay employee to plead guilty. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cyber stalking and conspiracy to manipulate a witness.

Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a 30-month prison sentence for Mr. Cooke when he is later convicted. once eBay security chiefs James Baugh and David Harville, prosecutors said, targeted the couple in Natick, Massachusetts, with threatening messages and unwanted supplies, such as a box of live cockroaches and a wreath. the couple's name to the neighbors and conducted covert surveillance in an attempt to terrorize the couple and deter them from criticizing eBay.

They did so after two top executives expressed frustration over the newsletter, EcommerceBytes. Senior executives included former CEO Devin Wenig, who a person familiar with the case has said is "executive 1

" identified in court documents. and said it was time to "take her down."

Mr. Wenig has not been charged and has denied knowledge of the system. Wenig's spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Two other former eBay employees are scheduled to plead guilty on Thursday.

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