AP

eBay employees who sent spiders to couple to plead guilty

Sep 23, 2020, 6:40 PM | Updated: 11:03 pm
eBay employees...
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2012, file photo, an eBay sign sits in front of the company's headquarters in San Jose, Calif. On Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, federal prosecutors said four former eBay Inc. employees had agreed to plead guilty to their roles in a campaign of intimidation that included sending live spiders and cockroaches to the home of a Massachusetts couple who ran an online newsletter highly critical of the auction site. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) — Four former eBay Inc. employees have agreed to plead guilty to their roles in a campaign of intimidation that included sending live spiders and cockroaches to the home of a Massachusetts couple who ran an online newsletter critical of the auction site, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

“Four former employees of #eBay are scheduled to plead guilty on Oct. 8 at 2pm via zoom in federal court in #Boston,” according to a tweet from the official account of the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts. “The defendants are charged w/ participating in a cyberstalking campaign that targeted a Massachusetts couple.”

The four expected to plead guilty are Brian Gilbert, 51; Stephanie Popp, 32; Stephanie Stockwell, 26; and Veronica Zea, 26, according to The Boston Globe.

All live in San Jose, California, except for Stockwell, who lives in Redwood City, California.

They are among seven former eBay employees charged in the case, in which the Massachusetts couple had other disturbing items sent to their home, including a funeral wreath and a bloody pig Halloween mask.

They are all charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with a witness. Their lawyers either declined to comment or didn’t immediately return emails seeking comment Wednesday.

The employees also sent pornographic magazines with the husband’s name on them to their neighbor’s house, planned to break into the couple’s garage to install a GPS device on their car, and posted the couple’s names and address online, advertising things like yard sales and encouraging strangers to knock on the door if the pair wasn’t outside, officials said.

The suspects engaged in a “systematic campaign fueled by the resources of a Fortune 500 company to emotionally and psychologically terrorize this middle-aged couple in Natick,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a news conference when charges were announced in June.

An internal investigation was launched after San Jose, California-based eBay was notified by law enforcement of “suspicious actions by its security personnel,” company officials wrote in a prepared statement. The employees were ultimately fired, the company said.

Popp was a senior manager of global intelligence at eBay; Gilbert was senior manager of special operations for eBay’s Global Security Team; Stockwell was manager of eBay’s Global Intelligence Center, and Zea was an eBay contractor who worked as an intelligence analyst in the Global Intelligence Center. Authorities say they were working at eBay at the time of the alleged harassment.

Court documents say the couple was targeted after their newsletter published an article in August 2019 about a lawsuit filed by eBay accusing Amazon of poaching its sellers.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

Dozens of mourners gather for a vigil near Central Avenue and St. Johns Avenue in downtown Highland...
By MICHAEL TARM, KATHLEEN FOODY and STEPHEN GROVES Associated Press

Police: Parade shooting suspect contemplated 2nd shooting

The suspect in the Highland Park parade shooting confessed to police that he fired on the crowd, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
20 hours ago
This June 5, 2013, image provided by the California Department of Water Resources shows a drip irri...
JESSICA DAMIANO Associated Press

Tips for growing a healthy garden during drought

Watering needs for plants could increase during periods of extreme heat, when the soil dries out more quickly.
2 days ago
Two members of the FBI move items from the scene at the Highland Park shooting...
MICHAEL TARM, KATHLEEN FOODY and STEPHEN GROVES Associated Press

Police: Gunman fired more than 70 rounds at July 4 parade, 7 dead

Police gave no motive for the attack in Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 on Chicago's north shore.
2 days ago
Frankfurter-munching phenom Joey “Jaws” Chestnut has gobbled his way to a 15th win at the Natha...
By JENNIFER PELTZ and JULIA NIKHINSON Associated Press

Joey Chestnut is chomp champ again in July 4 hot dog contest

NEW YORK (AP) — Frankfurter-munching phenom Joey “Jaws” Chestnut put a protester in a chokehold while gobbling his way to a 15th win Monday at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, powering down 63 hot dogs and buns at the annual exhibition of excess. In a decisive chowdown comeback, women’s record-holder […]
3 days ago
FILE - Fireworks explode over Baltimore's Inner Harbor during the Ports America Chesapeake 4th of J...
BOBBY CAINA CALVAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

A turbulent US this July 4, but many see cause to celebrate

July 4 has arrived as many citizens struggle to find a reason to celebrate. Yet many also see cause for celebration, including President Joe Biden.
3 days ago
A Navy soldier stands guard as authorities wait for the arrival of people who were evacuated from t...
Associated Press

Tropical Storm Colin brings rain to Carolinas, weakens

Tropical Storm Colin formed along the coast on Saturday. Conditions are expected to improve by Monday's Fourth of July celebrations.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
eBay employees who sent spiders to couple to plead guilty