Despite claiming initially that they were both pressured by eBAY into performing cookie stuffing, one-time affiliate celebrities Shawn Hogan and Brian Dunning have both plead guilty to wire fraud stemming from charges brought by the US Justice Department in 2010. They had both been arrested by the FBI and indicted on multiple charges of wire-fraud and criminal forteiture, and faced perhaps life in prison if they didn’t plead out.
Both of them had claimed at some time that they indeed did commit potentially illegal acts of cookie stuffing, but only because eBAY instructed them to use the means. However, when the cookie crumbled it revealed that there was absolutely no proof that anyone major at eBAY knew about their methods, and they had no plans in informing eBAY management about them.
The evidence against both Dunning and Hogan showed that, among other things, that they knew exactly what they were doing. The FBI report said that Dunning himself described the people running the eBAY affiliate program as “stupid” and he could easily trick them by inserting 1×1 pixels into his codes, stuffing cookies into browsers. He also admitted in an interview that one eBAY employee knew of this, and was taking a kickback. Similarly, Shawn Hogan admits that he was involved in kickbacks, saying that he paid an employee of eBAY $50,000 to buy a new car, and gave all sorts of other gifts to the employees in order for them to look the other way.
So I guess Hogan and Dunning weren’t lying when they said employees knew of their illegal actions, but they were paying them off. I guess that’s somewhat good news, that they weren’t total liars, right?