Man charged with defrauding Yad2 users

Suspect allegedly offered fictitious products for sale on popular second-hand sales site.

Using Yad 2 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Using Yad 2
(photo credit: Courtesy)
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 Tuesday.
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.
The Yad2 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 goods.
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 details.
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.
Gavsu falsely 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 indictment said.
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 said.
When Gavsu did answer his phone, the indictment charges, he would laugh and jeer at the customers, saying they had “fallen into a trap.”
Gavsu even threatened some of the complainants, the indictment alleged.
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.
In 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 days.”
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 indictment said.
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 text message.
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.
Gavsu 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.