Online marketplace Letgo has been sued over Denver-area killings – Natural Self Esteem

By Thomas Peipert, The Associated Press

Online marketplace Letgo is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after the parents of five children were fatally shot and robbed while using the app to try to buy a used SUV in suburban Denver in 2020.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court on behalf of the victims’ family claims, Letgo, which was acquired by OfferUp, was negligent in allowing the alleged shooter to become a “verified seller” using a false name and despite his criminal record.

The lawsuit, which also names OfferUp as a defendant, argues that while Letgo advertises that it works with law enforcement to ensure the safety of its tens of millions of users, it is the only requirement for becoming a “verified seller.” is a working email address.

“The Letgo app pretends that these supposedly ‘verified’ accounts can and should be trusted more than the competition in the online marketplace,” the lawsuit reads. “However, it has become increasingly clear that Letgo falsely advertises itself as a secure online marketplace for verified sellers without any legitimate verification process in place.”

A spokesman for OfferUp, based in Bellevue, Wash., said Thursday it was reviewing the lawsuit but declined to comment further.

The Letgo app was integrated with a similar OfferUp app shortly after filming in Colorado, but still exists independently outside the US

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In August 2020, Joseph Roland was looking for a vehicle for his teenage daughter and found a Toyota RAV4 advertised by a “verified seller” on Letgo named James Worthy, who was actually an 18-year-old named Kyree Brown. Roland agreed to meet Brown in a parking lot near a mall in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.

“What was supposed to be a brief and safe transaction through Letgo turned into a tragic nightmare,” says the lawsuit, which comes as law enforcement officials across the country are encouraging buyers and sellers to meet in safer places like police station parking lots.

When Roland and his wife Jossline arrived, Brown told them he accidentally brought the wrong vehicle title and asked the couple to meet him elsewhere, according to the lawsuit.

They agreed and followed the man to the address “unaware of any danger as James Worthy was a ‘verified seller’ of Letgo,” the lawsuit said.

Brown is accused of pulling a pistol and shooting the couple after Joseph Roland tried to wrestle the gun away. Investigators say the teenager then fled with the $3,000 in cash the Rolands brought to pay for the SUV, which was reported stolen days before the Aug. 14, 2020 encounter.

Brown was arrested about two weeks after the shooting and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

“It’s outrageous behavior that Letgo led customers to believe the app had a legitimate verification process when any user (let alone Mr. Brown – who had a criminal record) could use fictitious names and sell stolen vehicles as ‘verified’ simply by an E -Provide email address,” the lawsuit reads.

It is also claimed that if Letgo had implemented stricter screening policies, it would have taken the police less than two weeks to track down the suspect.

In the “Terms of Use” section on OfferUp’s website, the company encourages placing third-party meeting places like police stations in well-lit, busy areas with surveillance cameras, but says users acknowledge that there are risks involved in buying and selling in an internet-based marketplace.

“It is possible that other users may attempt to harm you physically or to defraud you or obtain information from you for fraudulent purposes,” the terms read, which also indicate that OfferUp does not investigate a user’s criminal background or verified.

In addition to negligence, Letgo and OfferUp are accused of fraud, misrepresentation, and fraudulent and unfair trading practices in Thursday’s lawsuit. Compensation is sought, which will be determined by a jury.

Jossline Roland used to work for Dianne Sawaya’s law firm in Denver. That office filed the lawsuit along with Geragos & Geragos, another Los Angeles-based firm.

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