By Maria Armental 
 

A retired police captain who oversaw security operations at eBay Inc.'s European and Asian offices has been charged in a cyberstalking campaign that targeted a couple that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company, according to the Justice Department.

Philip Cooke, 55 years old, is the seventh former eBay employee charged in the cyberstalking campaign against a Massachusetts couple who publish an e-commerce blog, EcommerceBytes.

Mr. Cooke was charged in Boston federal court with conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to temper with witnesses. It couldn't be immediately determined if he had an attorney.

The attacks, according to court documents, included sending the couple threatening Twitter messages and packages that contained live cockroaches, a preserved fetal pig and a bloody-pig Halloween mask along with a funeral wreath and a book on surviving the loss of a spouse. In addition, the authorities said, a subscription for pornographic magazines was ordered in the name of the husband to be sent to the neighbors' homes.

The Justice Department also accuses the former eBay employees, whose responsibilities included security and global intelligence, of conducting covert surveillance of the Natick, Mass., couple.

The couple, Ina and David Steiner, hasn't responded to requests for comment.

EBay Chief Executive Jamie Iannone, speaking at the annual shareholder meeting last month, called the actions attributed to the fired workers "awful" and said that he had apologized to the couple.

"The events from last year never should have happened, yet it gives us a chance to reflect, to reset and to act," Mr. Iannone said. "Integrity is the foundation of how I work, and as CEO, I will hold our leadership team and all employees to this same standard."

 

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 07, 2020 16:29 ET (20:29 GMT)

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