Dubbed the “Israeli Craigslist” after the well-known American classified
advertisements website, Yad2 has become a popular way for Israelis to buy and
sell secondhand goods online.
However, a Netanya man allegedly took
advantage of the site’s trustworthy reputation, defrauding a number of Yad2
users out of thousands of shekels, according to an indictment the Central
District Attorney served in the Netanya Magistrate’s Court on
Yakir Gavsu, 20, was charged with 53 counts of fraud after he
allegedly placed advertisements on Yad2 offering fictitious iPhones, cellphones
and laptop computers for sale, took customers’ money and then threatened them
when they called to complain their products had not arrived.
site, whose name means “secondhand” in Hebrew, allows users to post classified
advertisements for used goods they wish to sell or rent. Items may be purchased
through the site.
However, Gavsu did not actually possess any of the
products he advertised for sale on Yad2, the indictment said.
He and his
brother, who is not charged in the indictment, instead allegedly created an
elaborate scam to entice customers to send them money for nonexistent
When customers complained and asked for their money back, Gavsu
threatened them, which stopped the customers from filing police reports
immediately after the events, the indictment said.
According to the
indictment, after Gavsu posted the fraudulent advertisements on Yad2, potential
buyers would contact him or his brother to ask them for more
Gavsu allegedly told the customers that he had the goods in his
possession, and persuaded them to purchase the items in question through the
post office’s cash transfer service, Mezuman B’zman.
promised the customers that he would send the products out by courier when he
received the cash.
Mezuman B’zman allows customers to transfer cash for a
small fee via their local post office bank branch, using the full name and ID
number of the beneficiary.
After the customer deposited the money, the
bank gave them a deposit reference number, which they passed on to the defendant
or his brother by telephone or SMS.
Gavsu could then go to any post
office branch and collect the money after providing the reference number, the
However, when the customers allegedly defrauded by Gavsu
tried to contact him or his brother to ask why they never received the goods,
they usually found he would not answer his phone, the indictment
When Gavsu did answer his phone, the indictment charges, he would
laugh and jeer at the customers, saying they had “fallen into a
Gavsu even threatened some of the complainants, the indictment
The indictment described how Gavsu threatened to file a police
complaint against one complainant, known as Liran, after she called him several
times to ask why the goods she had purchased had not been sent.
October 2011, another complainant, referred to in the indictment as Shlomo,
called Gavsu’s brother and asked for his items or his money back. However, the
indictment said, the brother told Shlomo that he would harm his family if he
continued to call.
In another incident in January, Gavsu allegedly
threatened to “cut off the hands” of another complainant who asked for his or
her money back.
Gavsu allegedly made obscene sexual threats to the
girlfriend of another complainant who asked for a refund in March. When the
woman said she would call the police, Gavsu allegedly swore and said, “What can
they do to me, they’ll just arrest me, investigate and release me in a couple of
According to the indictment, Gavsu’s Yad2 scheme was not limited
to purchases made using cash transfers.
Some customers asked to make the
purchases in person, and in those cases, the indictment said, Gavsu or his
brother would meet the customer and give them a damaged item, pretending it was
in working order.
In February, Gavsu allegedly sent a woman to meet a
customer who replied to an advertisement for a desktop computer. The
woman met the customer in Netanya, who paid NIS 750 for a damaged computer, the
The indictment said the customer managed to take a
photograph of the woman on his cellphone. When he realized the computer was
broken he contacted Gavsu’s brother, who allegedly responded with a threatening
Gavsu is charged under the Computers Law with giving false
information or false output on a computer, and under the Penal Code with 53
counts of obtaining an item by deceit, three counts of threats and conspiracy to
commit a felony.
The defendant is also charged with attempting to hide
evidence during a police search of his home earlier this month.
allegedly hid a laptop in a laundry basket when police knocked on his door with
a search warrant.
As police searched his home, Gavsu cursed the officers
and the courts, the indictment said.
“You won’t find anything in my
house,” Gavsu allegedly told police.
According to the indictment, he
added: “I’ll show you who I am, you don’t know who you’re dealing with.” Gavsu
will be arraigned next month.
The District Attorney also filed a request
to remand him in custody throughout the criminal trial.