Real estate scammer gives bad name to AirBnB owners

Apparently a skilled fraudster, his Air scams went beyond the usual arbitrage. Giving a bad name to Air hosts everywhere…


And so much for Airbnb’s vetting. The guy had a federal conviction for counterfeiting in 2010.


“Instead, Johnson turned the houses he bought into short-term rentals, often called “Airbnbs” after the popular online rental platform.”

If he had picked VRBO or, it surely would have read differently - “he rented the places and defrauded the banks…”.

He is a hustler, like a million others in the population today. The fact he ‘Airbnbed’ (i.e. rented via Airbnb) the houses is really irrelevant fact, except for the sensational, trendy and lazy media.

Was Airbnb (a booking agency) suppose to have vetted this guy and looked into his life further than he presenting a title for the property upon a signing up? Last thing I would want is another Big Brother in my life. The banks didn’t catch it, and they are the ones lending their account holder’s money!

In a way this article is a hustle.


Yes, I think they should do criminal record checks on users. Anything concerning money scams or violence, or sexual harrassment and assault convictions should disqualify a host or a guest. Maybe if the conviction was 20 years ago and they’d kept their nose clean since, it could be ignored.

What I have always found to be amazingly lax on their part is not even requiring a host to submit a property deed in their name, or a notarized paper from the landlord or homeowner, if they are co-hosting, giving them permission to list.

But I do agree that the fact that he was using the places as strs is completely irrelevant, as there is no indication that the guests were defrauded.


I could see looking at a criminal record, IF they can get one legally and easily; there is however so many layers in the American culture for secrecy that may be tricky to get, but I have no idea really.

As to a property deed, the least Airbnb can do so not to get embroiled in those battles.

I bet the writer thoroughly ‘enjoyed’ adding the name Airbnb to the article and made no mention how he got by the scrutiny by the banks who made all possible for a decade. Snake.

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They don’t want to spend the money or legal hassle doing those deep background checks.


I don’t have a deed in my possession; this requirement would have been enough of a hassle to keep me out.

This guy might well have deeds for all his properties… it sounds like he did purchase them all right, and it’s the financing that was fraudulent.

As others have said, it appears his STR rental guests were not defrauded. He applied for & received investment property loans under false pretenses. The lenders cheerfully handed over millions without follow up to make sure the loan was used as intended.

This guy was slick. He lost his Real Estate license he should never have received. His 2010 felony should’ve disqualified him.

The irony is, if he had done this for one property or two, I think he could’ve gotten away with it. He got greedy.

It’s anti-STR clickbait and it is aimed at the idiots (like the ones in my neighborhood) who don’t realize we’re a freaking tourist beach town and STRs are a fact of life when there aren’t any hotels nearby.

Those same idiots blame STRs for the lack of affordable housing. Yet our area is building out 10,000 (yes, you read that correctly) new homes starting in the mid 200,000s.

“Everyone” is moving to Florida - my county alone is 1,000 people a day.

That’s what’s causing the rise in property values.


Going back to my “day job” of counting project hours…


My sister is in DeLand, insane zooming property values. As long as those moving in were not part of the reason why they are moving is cool.

The people you don’t get (FL) are moving to my area (SC).

Crazy property increases (supply & demand). New construction everywhere & sold before they are built. Prices starting high $200’s.

Locals are blaming STRs & pushing local government for restrictions. STR has always been here.

STR is not the problem.

I read a home construction forecast. Because home construction slowed significantly (1M homes a year not built) from 2006-2019 there was a >10M home deficit. Even with fast new construction & boomers dying thus homes available it will take 7-10 years for supply to equal demand.

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It may not be a problem in your area but it is a problem in many places. There are now over 1000 entire places listed in my old neighborhood in my hometown. It’s about a 3.5 sq mile area primarily with houses and duplexes (not large complexes). That’s a 1000 places off the rental market in one neighborhood.


Yes, it’s for sure a problem in many places. I’d say most, unless there is an overabundance of housing. My town is a touristy beach town with thousands of vacation rentals. Just because thousands of tourists come here, and don’t need a full time place to live, doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. Locals who work here have a really hard time finding an affordable place to live, even a little one bedroom place in an old building, and many have to commute every day from other towns.

It’s a catch 22. In my area the housing squeeze isn’t because of one thing.

There is a housing deficit that’s been gradually getting worse for 13 years.

It’s also a highly desirable “move to” destination. (I Read an article of most popular relocation destinations: Florida #1 with 37%, SC is 2nd with 34% of the relocations)

My area’s local economy is STR dependent.
Without the STRs there would be few jobs and few amenities.

The STRs create the business environment to support the restaurants, clubs, shopping, activities the locals enjoy especially in the off season. Unlike some other coastal areas, the majority of the businesses don’t close Nov-March.

I think Limiting STRs may help short term but ultimately it will damage the local economy. Fewer STRs = fewer jobs. There is not alternative employment available.

I think in the next year or two, we are going to see some of the new STRs flip to LTR because with the high purchase prices, they aren’t going to make the desired rental margins but they can make the margin on LTR because less expenses, less work, lower taxes, & no booking fees.

This is a problem we can’t solve here—I wish we could.