This article was produced in collaboration with Court Watch, an independent outlet that unearths overlooked court records.
The alleged mastermind of a massive, nationwide Airbnb scam whose exploits were first detailed in a viral article which then led to sweeping policy changes at the company has been charged, according to recently filed court records. Shray Goel is charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The scheme involved nearly 100 properties across much of the country, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. In all, Goel and others booked a whopping 10,000 reservations through Airbnb, netting $7 million. A VICE investigation named Goel and drew the contours of his alleged scam in 2019. Now, the authorities have caught up with Goel.
On his website, Goel is seen posing on a yacht in one photo. He also claims to have integrated AI into his “daily grind,” and describes himself as a “visionary.”