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eBay corporate terrorist gets 18 months in federal prison for helping orchestrate campaign against Natick couple

A retired police captain who took a job as a security manager at eBay was ordered tossed in a federal prison cell for 18 months today for his role in a months-long campaign to terrorize a Natick couple who posted stuff online that they low-rent auction house didn't like - from sending them a bloody pig's head mask and live insects to trying to tail them as they drove around.

Six other eBay employees and consultants have also been charged in the corporate terrorism campaign, ended when a Natick police detective, nowhere near the sort of yokel the eBay lowlives thought he was, wouldn't let go when two residents of his town complained about the campaign against them. The company's CEO at the time, Devin Wenig was not criminally charged although he was mentioned in an FBI report on the case and was quietly allowed to leave when the FBI came calling. The Natick residents, Ina and David Steiner, who run a Web site about e-commerce companies, did name Wenig in a recently filed lawsuit against eBay.

Phillip Cooke, a captain with the Santa Clara, CA police department before he joined eBay, will also have to serve three years on probation after his release, under the sentence imposed today by US District Court Judge Allison Burroughs.

In a sentencing recommendation - in which they argued for 30 months in prison and recounted the eBay stalking campaign - federal prosecutors did not restrain the invective towards the former 27-year law-enforcement official turned corporate goon, even if he had agreed to plead guilty: They said he is a disgrace to the badge he wore for nearly three decades, his willingness to forego everything he ever stood for in that time abhorrent and his reasoning for viciously attacking journalists whose Web site angered him and his bosses absurd and an affront.

During the campaign, the Victims were not simply "rattled," as [one eBay attacker] put it. They experienced the harassment and intimidation physically. On August 16, 2019, the day Baugh, Zea, and Harville followed Victim 2 in a black van, Victim 1 described her husband looking ill, saw him sweating and nauseous, and was afraid he would have a heart attack. For her part, Victim 1 felt pressure when breathing, experienced pain in her chest, and lost weight. The trauma of not knowing what would come next is palpable in the Victims' statements. Victim 1 aptly described the experience as "psychological torture".

As cyberstalking frequently does, Cooke's crime cut the Victims off from their community. Victim 1 was afraid to go out in public. The Victims cancelled social engagements and a trip to see family and friends out of town, fearful that their stalkers would follow, and become others' stalkers. They even turned away offers of help and places to stay, afraid of putting their well-meaning friends at risk. Until the NPD put an end to the campaign, the Victims experienced it alone.

Nor has their fear abated with time. Nearly two years later, the Victims continue to memorize car license plates in public, carry pepper spray outside their home, and remain alert for signs of unusual activity in their neighborhood. Victim 2 relates that recounting these events "causes as much anxiety now as it did when they were happening to us two years ago".

Cooke's lawyer argued that Cooke has suffered enough - he lost his job and the respect of his family and peers. He has gotten his substance abuse under control and begun a program for other addicts.

He has accepted full responsibility for his misconduct, is very remorseful for his bad choices, and wants to do whatever it takes to put his life right.


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Comments

A cruelty to animals charge for shipping the insects to what was certainly neither an academic setting, nor to caring, adoptive parents.

Also, there's one good cop and one scumbag cop in this story. Nobody bats .500 like the blue.

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These sociopaths who run corporations fear that the most, as do sociopathic cops. They can whine, buy, and plead their way out of the rest while putting on their good person faces, but they really fear jail where they most certainly won't be special.

Makes me wonder what other bullshit about this guy's past performance will be forthcoming.

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Any pension he would have received from his time in law enforcement is now nullified.

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Has he "found Jesus" too?

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He's turned his life around.

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He has accepted full responsibility for his misconduct, is very remorseful for his bad choices, and wants to do whatever it takes to put his life right.

Good, "whatever it takes" means going to jail, so go quietly.

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