eBay Fined Millions For Terrorizing Innocent People

By Robert Scucci | Published

Former eBay employees are in serious trouble after spearheading a harassment and intimidation campaign against the Steiner couple in 2019. The global e-commerce company was fined $3 million for engaging in criminal activity that came in the form of not only stalking and mailing threatening packages to the Massachusetts-based Steiner couple, but everybody involved in the harassment campaign will be serving time for their horrific actions. A press release published by the U.S. Attorney’s Office lays out the crimes that were committed in black-and-white, and it’s truly the stuff of nightmares.

It all started back in 2019 when David and Ina Steiner were critical of eBay on EcommerceBytes, an online publication they run that provides news and updates in the e-commerce world. When eBay got wind of the critical publication, they decided it was in their best interest to orchestrate an elaborate plot to take the couple down. The harassment and stalking campaign was led by former senior director of safety Jim Baugh.

eBay was 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 and has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement.

US Department of Justice

From August 5 to August 23 2019, the former eBay employees made the Steiner’s lives a living nightmare. During this time, six co-conspirators led by Baugh mailed a number of menacing packages to the Steiners, including a book on surviving the death of a spouse, a fetal pig, a bloody pig mask, a funeral wreath, and a package full of live insects. Matters further escalated when the eBay employees sent out an open invite for sexual encounters at the Steiner’s house.

But the harassment from eBay didn’t stop there, as the Steiners also spotted former employees installing a tracking device on their car during this time. Fortunately, this egregious act was enough to get the local police and FBI involved. When authorities started investigating eBay, Baugh made a number of false statements to investigators and even deleted digital evidence related to the crimes his team committed to throw off the investigation.

“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,”

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy

Baugh’s efforts to sweep everything under the rug failed, however, and the following charges were filed against eBay: 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.

Fortunately, justice has been served. eBay was not only fined $3 million but everybody involved has either been sentenced to prison or house arrest or are currently awaiting sentencing. Baugh, who was the ringleader, is currently serving a 57-month sentence for encouraging such unprofessional (read: criminal) behavior.

Today’s settlement holds e-Bay criminally and financially responsible for emotionally, psychologically, and physically terrorizing the publishers of an online newsletter

US Department of Justice

We could only imagine how much further things could have escalated if the authorities didn’t seriously consider the Steiner’s distress after eBay started stalking them.

Jamie Iannone, the current CEO of eBay, has since gone on record, acknowledging the toxic culture that led to such horrific behavior. While his apology for the former employee’s crimes seems sincere, there’s no doubt that the Steiner family was severely traumatized by the terror they were subjected to. Though the Steiners received a settlement for what they endured, their lawyer could not be immediately reached for comments on the matter.

Source: Department of Justice