A Gold Coast Instagram influencer said her three-year legal nightmare had left her suicidal and shattered her business reputation.
A Gold Coast Instagram influencer said her three-year legal nightmare had left her suicidal and shattered her business reputation.

‘I was in shock’: Influencer’s legal hell after Airbnb claim

AN Instagram influencer and personal development coach formerly accused of making a false claim against Air BnB said her three-year legal nightmare left her suicidal and shattered her business reputation.

Cassandra House was charged with attempted fraud in November last year. She had made an insurance claim for thousands of dollars after people who had rented her Main Beach home broke 16 padlocks and took a number of designer goods.

Ms House was in Italy on her honeymoon at the time.

Cassandra House and her lawyer Chris Hannay, of Hannay Lawyers, outside Southport court. Picture: Lea Emery
Cassandra House and her lawyer Chris Hannay, of Hannay Lawyers, outside Southport court. Picture: Lea Emery

On Tuesday, six months after Ms House was charged, police offered no evidence in Southport Magistrates Court, meaning the charge was dropped.

However, Ms House says it has come at a huge financial and emotional cost.

"I have definitely had suicidal flashes. You think 'is this really me, is this really happening. Is this what I'm going through when I've done nothing wrong'," Ms House told the Bulletin outside of court.

"To think that you can do the right thing and have this sort of punishment and this sort of treatment is very scary.

"If this wasn't over today I don't know how much longer I would have been able to survive it."

Cassandra House said the incident left her depressed and her business reputation took a big hit. Picture: Supplied/Zac Smith
Cassandra House said the incident left her depressed and her business reputation took a big hit. Picture: Supplied/Zac Smith

The ordeal began between March 29 to April 5, 2018 when Ms House used Air BnB to rent out her apartment while she was on her honeymoon in Italy.

Before leaving she locked up her expensive items in cabinets in an effort to protect them.

The goods that went missing after the locks were broken included designer bags, a silver banana, designer shoes and Swarovski jewellery.

Ms House said her assistant noticed the items missing and contacted Air BnB.

Police were called and Ms House lodged an insurance claim with the online home rental company.

Cassandra House was left in shock when he ws charged for attempted fraud after items were taken from her Air BnB home. Picture: Supplied/Zac Smith
Cassandra House was left in shock when he ws charged for attempted fraud after items were taken from her Air BnB home. Picture: Supplied/Zac Smith

After the company refused to pay up, Ms House turned to the Southport District Court in June last year and lodged a civil claim against Air BnB.

Police charged Ms House in November last year.

"I was in shock over it," she said.

"You have to go to the authorities - that is what they are there for, to protect us.

"I felt that by doing that I was punished and made out to be in the wrong when I did the right thing."

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The charges had also impacted her business, which relies on her reputation as a speaker and personal development coach.

"My reputation is everything … I work on the principles of integrity, and authenticity and loyalty and honesty.

Cassandra House is relieved the charges have been dropped. Picture: Supplied/Zac Smith
Cassandra House is relieved the charges have been dropped. Picture: Supplied/Zac Smith

"I feel that this was a real throw of mud on the brand I have built for 35 years."

Ms House said it was the most "horrendous" thing she had ever been through.

Her lawyer Chris Hannay, of Hannay Lawyers, said outside of court: "Clearly she has been absolutely vindicated now for something that should never have happened in the first place."

He said police were ordered to provide a brief of evidence by the end of February but one had never been produced.

"It's disappointing that our prosecution branch could not have done it earlier and it was clear she had no case to answer," he said.

The civil claim Ms House has against Air BnB is still before the courts. Ms House said she would continue to pursue that matter.

 

 

lea.emery@news.com.au

 

 

 

 

Originally published as 'I was in shock': Influencer's legal hell after Air Bnb claim