Identity theft annually afflicts millions of people — both in this country and around the globe. Yet, many likely assume extra security would protect the bank accounts, credit cards and other financial instruments belonging to celebrities. It became clear earlier this month that is not exactly true.
The U.S. Secret Service, aided by local authorities, pounced Aug. 7 — arresting 19-year-old Luis Flores and his mother Kyah Green, 41, in Lake Mary, Florida, and charging them with a laundry list of fraud charges. The news of the arrests only became public Tuesday.
Beginning earlier this year, agents allege, Flores and Green had stolen the identities of such high-profile celebrities as Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and her mother, Kris Jenner. In fact, Flores allegedly had even been able to transfer an estimated $70,000 from one of Jenner’s bank accounts into his own. “That was one of the moves that cooked his goose,” said the source at the Lake Mary, Florida Police Department. Lake Mary is a suburban town of approximately 13,000 in the Orlando area.
Among Flores’ alleged illegal moves: being able to convince American Express to change the Social Security numbers associated with famous stars’ accounts and issue him new credit cards.
On top of all this, the Secret Service reportedly discovered a flash drive in the home of the mother and son, containing bank information, Social Security numbers, credit reports and personal phone numbers belonging to additional famous folks, including Beyonce, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, Bill Gates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Also found in the Flores-Green apartment was evidence of tens of thousands of dollars in wire transfers.
The agents also reportedly discovered the mother-son team had attempted to access the accounts of FBI director Robert Mueller, apparently failing in that attempt.
According to the source, it appeared clear that Flores was “an extremely skillful computer whiz who had been able to hack into so many accounts.”
On top of that phone recordings provided by several credit card issuers, “also showed what a smooth talker Flores was. … A real con artist.”
Green was released on bail, while Flores continues to be held without bail in Seminole County jail.
Earlier, he had pleaded no contest June 27 to a separate theft charge for redirecting a co-worker’s direct-deposit payroll check into his own checking account.
At the time, Flores was working at an AT&T office in Orlando.