eBay pays approximately 435 million yen in fines for sending live cockroaches and spiders in retaliation against critical bloggers

Seven former employees of eBay, a major Internet auction company, were sentenced to $3 million in criminal penalties for repeatedly harassing and stalking bloggers who posted critical articles. It was reported that they had agreed to pay 10,000 yen.

District of Massachusetts | eBay Inc. to Pay $3 Million in Connection with Corporate Cyberstalking Campaign Targeting Massachusetts Couple | United States Department of Justice


Victim Impact Statement in United States of America vs eBay Inc.

eBay Inc. Reaches Agreement with US Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts

eBay to pay $3 million after couple became the target of harassment, stalking - CBS News

In August 2019, eBay sold live spiders, cockroaches, and funeral wreaths to Massachusetts residents Aina Steiner and David Steiner, who run EcommerceBytes, a news blog specializing in e-commerce. They stalked him by sending him specimens of fetal pigs, bloody pig masks, and tons of pizza delivered to his home. Seven former eBay employees, including several executives, were arrested in this case.

Six eBay executives arrested on charges of sending ``bloody pig masks'' to journalists - GIGAZINE

by Kazuhisa OTSUBO

“eBay has committed an absolutely horrifying criminal act. The company's employees and contractors involved in a series of stalking incidents have committed a chilling campaign aimed at suppressing reporting about them and protecting the eBay brand. His activities put his victims through pure hell,” said Joshua Levy, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against eBay in this case, including two counts of interstate stalking, two counts of stalking by electronic communications service, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of justice.

In exchange for pleading guilty to the charges, eBay entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, in which it agreed to pay the maximum fine of $3 million on the six counts. This means that eBay will have an external compliance monitor for three years.

'EBay's actions in 2019 were wrong and reprehensible, and we remain deeply sorry for what the Steiners endured,' said eBay CEO Jamie Iannone. Ta.

According to investigators, the plan to retaliate against the Steiners, dubbed a 'terrorist campaign,' was hatched in April 2019. Devin Wenning, eBay's CEO at the time, shared a link to Aina's article about his annual salary with executives. In response, then-chief communications officer Steve Weimer responded, ``We're going to crush this woman.''

Mr. Weimer then sent an email to head of security, James Baugh, in which he named Mr. Aina as a 'bigoted troll who needs to be burned to death,' before 'seeing the ashes.' I want to,” he instructed.

In response, Bau and others began harassing the Steiners in August 2019, threatening to send them the items mentioned above. In addition to harassment caused by parcel deliveries, there have also been tangible and intangible incidents such as pornography magazines with the Steiners' names on them being distributed to neighbors, and announcements of bargain sales and sex parties being held at the couple's home posted on social media. Many cases of malicious harassment occurred.

When David was sent funeral wreaths and books about how to live the life of someone who has lost a spouse, David said, ``These were death threats that implied someone was going to hurt and kill Aina.'' '' he recalls.

Eventually, David, who noticed that he was being followed, recorded the car's license plate and notified the local police, and Bau and seven other eBay employees were arrested or charged, and all of them admitted their guilt. However, Mr. Wenning and Mr. Weimer were not indicted due to insufficient evidence.

In response to the Justice Department's announcement, the Steiners published an article on EcommerceBytes stating, ``As victims of a despicable crime designed to destroy our lives and livelihoods, we want to ensure that something like this never happens to anyone else.'' I felt it was important to do everything in my power to prevent this from happening to other people.'

The Steiners intend to continue pursuing the case in court, and a civil trial against eBay and former employees is scheduled for March 3, 2025.

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