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Four former eBay workers to plead guilty in U.S. to cyberstalking campaign

Credit: REUTERS/FABRIZIO BENSCH

Four former eBay Inc workers have agreed to plead guilty to participating in a cyberstalking campaign against a Massachusetts couple whose online newsletter they viewed as critical of the e-commerce company.

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Four former eBay Inc EBAY.O workers have agreed to plead guilty to participating in a cyberstalking campaign against a Massachusetts couple whose online newsletter they viewed as critical of the e-commerce company.

Former eBay security and global intelligence team members Stephanie Popp, Stephanie Stockwell, Brian Gilbert and Veronica Zea are slated to enter their pleas on Oct. 8 in federal court in Boston, according to a filing on Wednesday.

Popp's attorney declined to comment. Other defense lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

They four are among seven defendants, including two onetime eBay security executives, who prosecutors said targeted the couple with anonymous email and Twitter threats and deliveries such as live cockroaches and a bloody Halloween pig mask.

Prosecutors said the former eBay workers also sent pornography in the couple's name to neighbors and conducted covert surveillance, in a systematic bid to terrorize the couple and deter them from criticizing the company.

They did so after two top executives expressed frustration with the newsletter. One of the executives was former Chief Executive Devin Wenig, who a person familiar with the matter confirmed is the "Executive 1" identified in charging documents.

Prosecutors said that Wenig texted the other executive after the newsletter's editor published an article about eBay saying it was time to "take her down."

Wenig has not been charged and has denied directing or knowing anything about the scheme. He is a member of General Motors Co's <GM.N> board.

A spokesman for Wenig did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The four expected to plead guilty were first charged in June. Popp was formerly eBay's senior manager of global intelligence, while Gilbert is a former senior manager of special operations for eBay's global security team.

Stockwell is the former manager of eBay's global intelligence center and Zea was a contractor who worked in the center as an intelligence analyst.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

((Nate.Raymond@thomsonreuters.com and Twitter @nateraymond; 617-856-1312; Reuters Messaging: nate.raymond.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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