(Reuters) – A former eBay Inc. security chief pleaded guilty Monday to harassing a Massachusetts couple who wrote a newsletter by arranging anonymous Twitter messages and home deliveries that included a bloody pig worm and live insects.
Jim Baugh, eBay’s former head of security and safety, pleaded guilty in Boston’s federal court to nine counts, including conspiracy, persecution through interstate travel and witness manipulation.
Baugh is one of seven former eBay workers accused in 2020 of harassing the married couple in Natick, Massachusetts, behind the EcommerceBytes newsletter.
They did so after two top executives, including former CEO Devin Wenig, expressed frustration over the newsletter, according to prosecutors and a lawsuit filed by the couple, David and Ina Steiner, against eBay.
Wenig was not prosecuted and has denied that he knew about the scheme. An eBay spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Baugh was brought to justice on May 31with another former eBay boss, David Harville, its former global resiliency boss.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Kosto said Baugh, 47, faces 57 to 71 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. William Fick, Mr Baugh’s lawyer, said he would argue for less. The verdict was scheduled for September 29.
Prosecutors said that in August 2019, Steiners began receiving anonymous, harassing private messages on Twitter and what Mr. Kosto said there were “unwanted and disruptive” deliveries to their homes that also included a book on surviving the loss of a spouse.
Prosecutors said Baugh convened meetings to schedule messages and deliveries with workers who reported to him and traveled with some to Massachusetts to watch the couple and unsuccessfully try to install a GPS on their car.
After finding out that the Natick police were investigating, Baugh and other messages were deleted from their social media accounts and denied to eBay investigators that its employees were involved, prosecutors said.