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News, Santa Monica, City Attorney

Two Brothers Convicted In Santa Monica Vacation-Rental Scam

Posted Sep. 24, 2013, 9:36 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

Two brothers based in the San Fernando Valley have been being convicted for participation in a Santa Monica vacation-rental scam.

Eran "Ron" Shabtay, 43, and his brother Yerev "Reeve" Shabtay, 42, pled guilty to four criminal counts each, including false advertising and illegal tenant lockout, as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

The pair were convicted of misleading consumers in a vacation rental scam involving two Santa Monica properties which they owned and rented out to tourists on a short-term basis.

The Santa Monica City Attorney's Office filed criminal charges against the Shabtays in November 2012 after receiving complaints from more than a dozen consumers who came to visit Santa Monica from as far away as Norway and Australia.

The defendants owned and operated two rental properties, one on Second Street and the other on Pacific Street. They advertised on the websites and

Consumers paid in full for their vacation rentals by credit card, months in advance, some paying as much as $5,000. According to consumers' complaints:

- Many never got access to the property after arriving in town.

- Others' credit cards were charged more than the agreed amounts.

- Many arrived in Santa Monica only to discover that the actual rental property was far smaller than advertised, and in terrible condition.

- Some were double-booked with other customers for the same property on the same dates.

- The Shabtays refused to return customers' calls and emails, and wouldn't refund their money.

Under the terms of the convictions:

1. The Shabtays each must perform between 80 and 104 hours of hard labor;

2. Each must perform 100 hours of community service;

3. They must pay a total of $23,485.73 to complete the refunds to all customers in the case who have not already gotten credit card reversals;

4. They must pay $30,000.00 to the City of Santa Monica's Consumer Protection Fund;

5. Both defendants are placed on four years' probation; and

6. They are prohibited from doing any more short-term rentals in Los Angeles County.

The Shabtays entered their pleas in the LAX courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Sept. 18, 2013.

"False advertising is a serious crime," said Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky. "It cheats consumers and it gives dishonest businesses an unfair advantage over honest ones. Consumers need to know that they can trust what is promised to them, including online ads. Also, it's illegal in Santa Monica to rent out any residential property on a short-term basis."

Radinsky said short-term basis is defined as less than 30 days.

Post a comment


Sep. 24, 2013, 2:28:56 pm

Joe Schmo said...

They belong behind bars.

Oct. 22, 2015, 10:47:46 pm

rice said...

This City is crazy and out of control. These people did not deserve this. They were never even at the property. i know because they owned the properties next to me, my neighbors ; it was managed by some crazy Chinese lady and the city went after the owners instead of the management company they retained who caused all this. Funny the people that complained enjoyed their stay, trashed these poor guys home and then tried to get their money back from the owners. The owners were the nicest people you could ever meet. Hey small city, large government - so they try to get it anyway they can. These guys did not deserve this unbelievable ethical town Santa Monica. Ofcoarse nothing happened to the property manager crazy Chinese lady, guess she didnt have money. These guys sold the property and Santa Monica went after then nearly a year later for nothing ...victims , there were no victims, what a joke ...victims were these poor saps that Santa Monica went after for nothing ...make them plead to misdemeanors and gouge them for money...disgusting

Oct. 22, 2015, 11:10:29 pm

Sharlene said...

Yeah this is funny I knew these guys their homes were beautiful and that crazy property manager they hired caused all this. Funny they had hundreds of tenants over a 10 year span and 4 complained and started a avalanche of head ache for these poor guys. Shameful just shameful to do this to this to these property owners. They had people fighting to stay at their homes and their neighbor also does vaca rentals. They didnt charge anyone $5,000 whoever wrote this I guess your on City of Santa Monica pay roll. People forewarned do not always believe these little beach city rag mags ....astonishing the nerve after these guys paid for city of santa monica licenses and permits

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