EBay has agreed to pay a $3 million fine to settle criminal charges over employees who sent spiders, cockroaches and other items to a Massachusetts couple.
The Massachusetts couple, David and Ina Steiner, had produced an online newsletter called Ecommerce Bytes, which had upset eBay executives.
The big picture: EBay was charged with stalking, witness tampering and obstruction of justice over three years after the employees were prosecuted.
- According to the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts, eBay has accepted responsibility for the harassment scheme and could have its charges dismissed if it complies with certain conditions.
- An independent monitor will oversee eBay for three years as part of the settlement.
The backstory: The harassment began after the couple published a story about a lawsuit between eBay and Amazon.
- They sued eBay and said that they had received threatening Twitter messages and strange emails from groups like the Communist Party of the United States.
- They also had received a funeral wreath, a bloody pig mask and a book about surviving the loss of a spouse.
What they’re saying: The Steiners posted a statement on their website on Thursday saying eBay damaged them emotionally, psychologically, physically, reputationally and financially.
- “We strongly pushed federal prosecutors for further indictments to deter corporate executives and board members from creating a culture where stalking and harassment is tolerated or encouraged,” they wrote.