A Santa Ana judge permanently banned the operators of several online rental websites from offering listings and fined them more than $6 million after the Federal Trade Commission alleged they made false and unfounded claims about the rentals, it was announced Monday.
In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Steven and Kevin “Kaveh” Shayan made false and unfounded claims on their WeTakeSection8.com website targeting low-income, disabled and older adults, including claims that the site had accurate, up-to-date listings that were approved for Section 8 housing vouchers.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford agreed with the FTC that the claims were false or unsubstantiated, and that most of the listed properties either were not available or do not accept Section 8 housing vouchers.
The Shayans also falsely claimed that consumers could access hundreds of thousands of accurate, up-to-date, and available listings on the defendants’ other subscription websites and that they had exclusive rights to list rental properties that consumers could not find on free websites, according to the FTC.
In addition to a monetary judgment, the order, issued on Dec. 6 in Santa Ana federal court, permanently bans the defendants from advertising, marketing, or promoting subscriptions for or access to a rental listing for an apartment, condominium or single family home.
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