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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Misguided Co-Workers

Have you ever bought or sold anything on eBay? If not, it’s basically an online auction house—highest bidder gets the item. EBay doesn’t sell stuff, they provide the platform for individuals to sell their stuff. If you work for eBay, which many people do, you keep the system running smoothly in whatever capacity they hired you to do.

When the senior leadership at eBay noticed a husband and wife, who shared their newsletters online, often spoke harshly about eBay, the employees considered ways to stop the criticism and preserve the business’ image.

The plan began as harassment. Two senior-leaders directed other managers and subordinates to conduct an anonymous harassment campaign on social media. One manager sent threatening and obscene private messages to the couple. Then the group sent the couple disturbing deliveries—live spiders, cockroaches, fly larvae. A bag of human feces, a live rat, and a running chainsaw were left on their porch, plus a pornography subscription that they sent to a neighbor in the couple’s name—all clearly telling the couple to stop slamming the business.

In a message from one upper-level manager to another, he said, speaking about the wife,

“a biased troll who needs to get BURNED DOWN.”

Their efforts were unsuccessful, so a few in the group traveled from coast-to-coast to follow the couple and place a GPS tracking device on their vehicle. They could not get near the vehicle because the couple parked it in their garage so, the surveillance group purchased the tools to break into the garage.

By now, the couple were on high alert. They spotted a vehicle following them and got the license number of the rental car and reported it to the local authorities. Meanwhile, the harassment continued. The misguided group of co-workers posted an ad on Craigslist seeking sexual partners for the couple—they included their home address.

Local authorities contacted the group. They lied about their reason to be in the area and began taking steps to cover their tracks. Once the authorities learned about the retaliation scheme, arrests and charges followed.

The couple’s attorney said of his clients,

“They faced intense and relentless pressure.”

The former employee who thought of the intimidation tactic pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel, stalking through interstate travel, stalking through facilities of interstate commerce, witness tampering, and destruction, alteration, and falsification of records in a federal investigation. A federal judge sentenced the 47-year-old man to over four years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay a fine of $40,000.

A 50-year-old former employee pleaded guilty to similar charges, a federal judge sentenced him to two years in prison, followed by two years of supervised release and pay a fine of $20,000.

Interestingly, one of the participating former employees had previously been a police captain. The 56-year-old ex-police officealso pleaded guilty to the same or similar charges. A federal judge sentenced him to 18 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service, and pay a fine of $15,000.

In court, a federal judge sentenced one of the former senior managers, a 34-year-old woman, to one year plus one day in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

A 28-year-old former employee pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. A federal judge sentenced her to two years of probation with the first year in home confinement and pay a fine of $5,000. #harassment #stalking

Source: U.S. District Court, US Department of Justice, Fortune

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