Founder of Purported Cryptocurrency Company Sentenced to More Than Eight Years in Prison for Multi-Million-Dollar Fraud Scheme
BOSTON – The former Director of Global Resiliency for eBay, Inc. pleaded guilty yesterday in connection with his role in a cyberstalking campaign targeting the editor and publisher of a newsletter that eBay executives viewed as critical of the company.
David Harville, 50, of Las Vegas, Nev., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and through facilities of interstate commerce, two counts of stalking through interstate travel and two counts of stalking through facilities of interstate commerce. U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for Oct. 6, 2022.
In June 2020, Harville was arrested and charged along with James Baugh, eBay’s former Senior Director of Safety & Security, who pleaded guilty on April 25, 2022. Co-conspirators and former eBay employees Philip Cooke, Brian Gilbert, Stephanie Popp, Veronica Zea and Stephanie Stockwell previously pleaded guilty. Cooke was sentenced in July 2021 to 18 months in prison. Gilbert, Popp, Zea and Stockwell are awaiting sentencing.
Between approximately Aug. 5, 2019 and Sept. 6, 2019, Harville and his co-conspirators at eBay agreed to engage in a harassment campaign targeting a husband and wife in Natick, Mass. for their roles in publishing a newsletter that reported on issues of interest to eBay sellers. Senior executives at eBay were frustrated with the newsletter’s tone and content, and with the tone and content of comments posted beneath the newsletter’s articles. The harassment campaign arose from communications between those executives and Baugh, who was eBay’s senior security employee.
Harville and his co-conspirators executed a three-part harassment campaign intended to intimidate the victims and to change the content of the newsletter’s reporting. The campaign included sending anonymous and disturbing deliveries to the victims’ home; sending private Twitter messages and public tweets criticizing the newsletter’s content and threatening to visit the victims in Natick; and traveling to Natick to surveil the victims and install a GPS tracking device on their car.
The deliveries ordered to the victims’ home included a book on surviving the death of a spouse, a bloody pig mask, a fetal pig, a funeral wreath and live insects. The harassment also featured Craigslist posts inviting the public for sexual encounters at the victims’ home.
The threatening Twitter messages 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.
On Aug. 15, 2019, Harville and co-conspirators traveled from California to Natick to surveil the victims and to install a GPS tracking device on the victims’ car. The victims spotted the surveillance team and contacted local police. Harville also purchased tools intending to break into the victims’ garage and lied to an eBay investigator who was responding to the Natick Police’s request for assistance. After learning of the police’s investigation, Harville turned in his company-issued cell phone from which evidence related to the cyberstalking campaign had been deleted.
The charges of conspiracy to commit stalking and stalking each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Natick Chief of Police James G. Hicks made the announcement. eBay provided valuable assistance and cooperation with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Kosto, Deputy Chief of Rollins’ Securities, Financial and Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.