EBay Pig-Mask Stalking Prosecution Adds a Seventh Defendant

A seventh former eBay Inc. employee was charged with taking part in a bizarre cyberstalking campaign against a suburban Boston couple who published an online e-commerce newsletter critical of the company.

Philip Cooke, who supervised security at the online auctioneer’s European and Asian offices, faces charges of conspiracy to commit cyberstalking and conspiracy to tamper with witnesses, according to court documents. Cooke previously worked as a police captain in Santa Clara, California, federal prosecutors said.

Cooke’s attorney Susan Winkler had no comment on the charges.

The new charges signal that the eBay probe may be more extensive than initially thought. Prosecutors, who didn’t say why they waited until Tuesday to charge another supervisor, have said their investigation was ongoing.

The U.S. last month announced charges against eBay’s former senior security director, James Baugh, and former director of global resiliency, David Harville, along with four others, with carrying out a harassment campaign last year that included sending a bloody pig mask, a funeral wreath and other disturbing items to the couple’s home. Cooke was junior to some of those already charged.

EBay “terminated Philip Cooke in connection with the matters discussed in the complaint and associated affidavit announced by the U.S. attorney’s Office in Massachusetts,” spokeswoman Ashley Settle said in a statement. “If new facts become available as a result of the government’s work or otherwise, we will take further action as warranted.”

A court appearance hasn’t been scheduled for Cooke. The government said he would appear at a later date.

Former eBay chief executive officer Devin Wenig last year texted a colleague expressing worry and anger over the unflattering coverage. What followed, prosecutors said, was a criminal plot by his underlings to cyberstalk the couple. Wenig isn’t charged.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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