A previous eBay security supervisor will spend 18 months behind bars for his role in a coordinated cyber stalking campaign with other previous employees against a Massachusetts couple who run an e-commerce blog.
Philip Cook, also a retired police captain in Santa Clara, California, was sentenced Tuesday for what a federal judge called “really hateful” actions by Cook and several previous eBay employees.
“It’s almost unfathomable to me,” US District Judge Alison Burrows said during sentencing, according to Reuters. “I’m not sure if I had seen it on TV I would find it believable.”
Cooke and several previous eBay employees have pleaded guilty to participating in a harassment campaign against Ina and David Steiner, who have been targeted by senior company officials for posting unfavorable eBay posts in their newsletter, EcommerceBytes.
According to federal prosecutors and a lawsuit the couple filed final week, a group of eBay employees led by CEOs began targeting Steiners in 2019 and went so far as to send live spiders to married publishers, a Halloween mask of a bloodied pig’s head and a. A book entitled “Surviving the Loss of a Husband”.
Former eBay CEO David Wenig, who was president at the time of the harassment and was named as a defendant in the Steiners case, has not been charged by the authorities. He has denied any knowledge or involvement in the scheme, and abruptly exited the company in September 2019.
“The misconduct of these previous employees was mistaken, and we will do what is sincere and appropriate to try to remedy what the Steiners went through,” eBay told FOX Business in a statement in response to an inquiry regarding the lawsuit. “The events of 2019 should never have happened, and as the Steiners family expressed on eBay, we are very sorry for what they endured.”
Echoing those sentiments, Cook lamented the sentencing hearing for not stopping at what he called “appalling behavior to please the president”.
“Obviously all of this was a mistake from start to finish,” he told the court.