All in the Family Biz: Mother and Son Fraud Team

By Teresa Ambord
 
This is one family business that needs to close its doors forever. And if the Florida attorney general's office has its way, prison doors will close on this mother and son fraud team for a long time.
 
Kyah Green, age forty-one, and Luis Flores, age nineteen  who, by some reports, identified himself as Green's son (other reports refer to the two as roommates)  were found with evidence that they had perpetrated fraud on some familiar names. The US Secret Service said the team's targets included Kim Kardashian, Kris Jenner (Kardashian's mother), Ashton Kutcher, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, and retired football coach Jerry Sandusky. 
 
Agents found evidence the mother/son duo had stolen tens of thousands of dollars from victims through wire transfers and credit card accounts, including those belonging to US Marshal Service Director Stacia Hylton.
 
Also found was a flash drive containing information on Chris Christie, Bill Gates, Tom Cruise, Beyonce Knowles, Mel Gibson, Joe Biden, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama. Agents said the two obtained the information from a website that hackers launched earlier this year that targeted notable people.
 

What the Secret Service Agent Said . . .

"In May of 2013, I was contacted by American Express Investigator Kristin Kenerson concerning the compromise of multiple accounts belonging to certain prominent card members. Investigator Kenerson told me that on May 19, 2013, an American Express call center received a call from an individual claiming to be Kimberly Kardashian. The caller was able to provide personal identifying information, answer the necessary security questions, and access Kardashian's account. After successfully accessing the account, the primary Social Security number was changed to Flores' Social Security number. The address on Kardashian's account was changed to the home address of Flores and Green. The caller then requested that a replacement card (ending in -3008) be sent to the Flores and Green's residence. Following the request for a new card, American Express issued a replacement card and shipped the new card overnight via FedEx to Flores and Green's residence."
 
– Excerpted from the affidavit of the US Secret Service agent involved in the investigation
 
 
How They Did It
According to the charges against them, Flores and Green used the published information to call credit card companies pretending to be Kardashian, Jenner, and Kutcher. Remarkably, they were able to persuade the card issuers to change the Social Security numbers, addresses, and phone numbers on the accounts and have replacement cards overnighted to them. (Read the sidebar for a bit of the testimony of the investigating US Secret Service agent.)
 
The Miami News Times states the couple was able to transfer $70,000 from celebrity accounts into their own. The pair is also accused of applying for credit in the names of other celebrities, including Paris Hilton. 
 
Mother and son were arrested August 7 at an apartment in Lake Mary, Florida. Green was released on bail pending trial. Flores, however, is being held without bail in the Seminole County Jail. Flores is a former ATT employee in Orlando. According to court documents, last June, he pleaded no contest to charges he redirected the paycheck of a coworker into his own account via direct deposit. 
 
Robin Hood? Or Just Plain Hoods?
The Miami News Times characterized what Flores and Green are accused of doing as a modern-day Robin Hood scheme, targeting the rich. But unlike Robin Hood, they only dispersed the riches to themselves. 
 
It's hard to say which is more unnerving. Is it that a mother and son were coconspirators in a family business of fraud, or is it that they so easily blew past the doors that are supposed to protect our financial assets? They couldn't have done it without successfully convincing people who are supposed to be professionals in charge of keeping those doors barred.
 
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