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Feds charge eBay over employees who sent live spiders and cockroaches to couple; company to pay $3M

Online retailer eBay Inc. will pay a $3 million fine to resolve criminal charges over a harassment campaign waged by employees who sent live spiders, cockroaches and other disturbing items to the home of a Massachusetts couple, according to court papers filed Thursday.

The Justice Department charged eBay with stalking, witness tampering and obstruction of justice more than three years after the employees were prosecuted in the extensive scheme to intimidate David and Ina Steiner. The couple produced an online newsletter called EcommerceBytes that upset eBay executives with its coverage.

California-headquartered eBay accepted responsibility for the employees’ actions and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement that could result in the charges against the company being dismissed if it complies with certain conditions, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts.

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