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Airbnb Host Accused of Recording Guests with Hidden Camera

Derek Starnes and his wife rented a condominium on Longboat Key, FL through Airbnb based partly on over 40 positive reviews posted on the site regarding the property. A day after checking into the rental Starnes who has a career in IT saw something amiss with one of the smoke detectors. Upon inspection he discovered it was a hidden security camera with a microphone pointed directly at their bed in the master bedroom.

Starnes called the police and they seized all computer equipment capable of storing data. A second camera was discovered in the living room.

The owner of the property, 56-year-old Wayne Natt, was taken into custody and charged with one count of video voyeurism. Natt’s Airbnb listing has been active for two years and police are investigating the possibility of others affected by the alleged breach of privacy. “We don’t know if there are local victims, someone who may have been dating him or a companion that doesn’t realize they are being videotaped, and then we have the other side of who he rented to through Airbnb,” said Lt. Bob Bourque.

Airbnb was founded in 2008 as an international online marketplace for people to list accommodations they have for rent and to connect travelers seeking lodging. Ben Breitt, a representative from the company, sent a response to media outlets regarding the incident stating, “We are outraged at the reports of what happened; as soon as we were made aware, we permanently banned this individual from our community and fully supported the affected guests. Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of this egregious offense and we hope justice is served. We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior.”

After his arrest and with his lawyer present Natt gave a statement to police explaining that he hosts sex parties at the rental property resulting in dozens of videos of people having sex, and everyone he videotaped knew they were being recorded and had given consent.

If you or someone you love is suspected of a sex crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.