A federal judge today sentenced Veronica Zea, 28, of San Jose, CA to a year of home confinement and a year of probation for her role in eBay's terror campaign against a Natick couple whose online postings about the company offended its executives.
Zea was an intelligence analyst in eBay’s Global Intelligence Center who agreed to help make life hell for Ina and David Steiner over what they wrote on a news site they run to cover electronic commerce.
The US Attorney's office in Boston describes what Zea and other eBay employees and executives did before she pleaded guilty in October, 2020 to conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses:
Zea and her co-conspirators executed a three-part harassment campaign intended to intimidate the victims and to influence their reporting about eBay. The campaign included sending anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home; sending private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content; threats to visit the victims in Natick; and traveling to Natick to surveil the victims and installing a GPS tracking device on their car.
Among other things, several of the defendants ordered anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home, including a preserved fetal pig, a bloody pig Halloween mask, a funeral wreath, a book on surviving the loss of a spouse, and pornography addressed to the victims but delivered to their neighbor’s homes. Zea used cash to purchase prepaid debit cards for use in the campaign and ordered insects to the victims’ home.
As part of the second phase of the campaign, Zea’s co-conspirators sent public tweets and private threatening Twitter messages that were written as if they had been sent by eBay sellers who were unhappy with the victims’ coverage in the newsletter. Some of these messages posted the victims’ address and threatened to visit them at their home.
The third phase of the campaign involved covertly surveilling the victims in their home and community. On Aug. 15, 2019, Zea travelled from California to Natick with Baugh and Harville to surveil the victims and to install a GPS tracking device on the victims’ car. Zea and Harville registered for a software development conference to explain the trip to Boston. The victims spotted the surveillance team and contacted local police. At Baugh’s direction, Zea also lied to an eBay investigator who was responding to the Natick Police’s request for assistance.
In September, an eBay executive got nearly five years in prison for his role. In October, two minions were sentenced, one to a year in prison, the other to a year under home confinement.
In addition to the criminal case, the Steiners are suing eBay.