Criminal Justice

Ex-eBay workers accused of sending live spiders, cockroaches to blogging couple writing about lawsuit

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Six former eBay employees are facing federal charges for an alleged harassment campaign against a suburban Boston couple who blogged about the company in their online e-commerce newsletter.

The employees are accused of sending deliveries to the couple’s home that included a bloody pig Halloween mask, live cockroaches and spiders, a funeral wreath, a book on surviving the loss of a spouse, and a preserved fetal pig, report the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS Boston and Law360.

A press release by the U.S. attorney in Boston is here.

The preserved fetal pig was ordered but never delivered, according to information in the complaint cited by Law360.

The employees, who are former security workers for the San Jose, California-based e-commerce company, also sent pornography to homes of the couple’s neighbors that identified one member of the couple as the recipient, prosecutors say. Some of the defendants are also accused of sending tweets threatening to visit the couple’s home in Natick, Massachusetts, which culminated with the publication of the couple’s home address.

The group is also accused of posting a Craigslist ad inviting “swingers” to the couple’s home after 10 p.m. nightly, according to coverage by CBS Boston.

The harassment campaign began when the couple wrote about litigation involving eBay in August 2019. The group intended to offer to help stop the harassment if the couple created goodwill toward eBay in their newsletter and if they identified negative commenters.

The couple called Natick police when they spotted people outside their home who turned out to be from eBay. The workers allegedly lied to police and eBay’s lawyers and deleted digital evidence.

The six former employees are charged with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses.

In a June 15 statement, eBay said it investigated the incidents and fired the employees involved. The company hired Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to assist in the investigation.

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