Online marketplace Letgo sued after Denver-area murders
Online marketplace Letgo is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after the parents of five children were shot and robbed while using the app to try to buy a used SUV in suburban Denver in 2020.
DENVER – Online marketplace Letgo is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after the parents of five children were shot and robbed while using the app to try to buy a used SUV in suburban Denver in 2020.
The lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday on behalf of the victims’ family alleges that Letgo, which was acquired by OfferUp, was negligent because it allowed the alleged shooter to become a “verified seller” using a false name and despite your criminal history.
The lawsuit, which also names OfferUp as a defendant, argues that while Letgo advertises that it works with law enforcement agencies to keep its tens of millions of users safe, the only requirement to become a “verified seller” is a working email address.
“The Letgo app provides the illusion that these so-called ‘verified’ accounts can and should be trusted above their competition in the online ‘marketplace’,” according to the lawsuit. “However, it has become increasingly clear that Letgo falsely advertises itself as a safe online marketplace for verified sellers without having any kind of legitimate verification process.”
OfferUp’s media department, based in Bellevue, Washington, said Thursday it was reviewing the lawsuit and would comment later.
The Letgo app was incorporated into a similar OfferUp app shortly after the Colorado shooting, but it still exists independently outside of the US.
In August 2020, Joseph Roland was looking for a vehicle for his teenage daughter and found a Toyota RAV4 listed by a “verified seller” on Letgo named James Worthy, who was actually an 18-year-old named Kyree Brown. Roland arranged to meet Brown in a parking lot near a shopping center in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
“What was supposed to be a short and secure transaction through Letgo turned into a tragic nightmare,” according to the lawsuit.
When Roland and his wife Jossline arrived, Brown told them he had accidentally brought the wrong vehicle title and asked the couple to meet him at another location, according to the suit.
They agreed and followed the man to the address, “not suspecting any danger, as James Worthy was a ‘verified seller’ for Letgo,” the suit says.
Brown is accused of pulling out a handgun and shooting the couple to death after Joseph Roland tried to wrestle the gun from him. Investigators say the teen then fled with the $3,000 in cash the Rolands had brought to pay for the SUV, which had been reported stolen a few days before the Aug. 14, 2020 encounter.
Brown was arrested about two weeks after the shooting and is awaiting trial on two counts of first-degree murder.
“It is outrageous conduct 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’ by simply providing an email address,” the lawsuit says.
He also maintains that if Letgo had implemented stricter verification policies, it would not have taken the police two weeks to locate the suspect.
In addition to negligence, the lawsuit accuses Letgo and OfferUp of fraud, misrepresentation, and deceptive and unfair business practices. You are seeking damages to be determined by a jury.
Jossline Roland used to work for the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya in Denver. The attorney’s office filed the lawsuit with another Los Angeles-based firm.