Criminal Law

Pair Indicted in $8.5 Million Airbnb, Vrbo Rental Properties Scam Linked to 10,000 Reservations Across 10 States

Two men were indicted by a federal grand jury as the masterminds behind a vast online rental properties scam that raked in more than $8.5 million, and was linked to 10,000 reservations across 10 states, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday. 

Shray Goel, 35, of Miami, and Shaunik Raheja, 34, of Denver, operated a short-term house rental business used to defraud Airbnb, Vrbo and guests renting properties through those platforms, according to the indictment. Goel was initially charged on Dec. 13, but Raheja was added to a superseding indictment on Wednesday, which also alleged the short-term rental property scam included discrimination against Black people.

When guests searched for rental housing in these areas, they found multiple listings of Goel and Raheja’s properties as the business would run “secret bidding wars,” the indictment said.  Operators used fake host names, and in certain instances, other people’s identities, to list properties. 

Read the source article at CBS News

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