A Texas mum has been caught stealing the identities of Houston Rockets billionaire Tilman Fertitta and Walmart heiress Alice Walton, after it turned out that she bought the credentials on the dark web for a measly $10.
According to a police release, the 62-year-old Houston Rockets owner alerted the authorities that theft-prevention firm Lifelock has lifted the lid on information regarding a discovery in which his personal identity was being used to create fake credit cards.
Investigations led detectives to the 27-year-old mom Stephanie Hunter after it was found that she used her home address in Houston.
The Harris County Constable Office said that the suspect confessed to attempting to buy stuff using the fake credit cards – exploiting the name and social security number of Billionaire Fertitta, who, according to Forbes, has a real-time net worth of $4.7 billion.
Quite interestingly, it turns out that Fertitta was not the only target in this classic case of cybercrime – the police reported that they discovered stolen identities belonging to more than a dozen other people. This included personal credentials belonging to Walmart Heiress Walton who, according to Forbes, is the richest individual in Texas with a $50 billion fortune to her name.
In a confession, Hunter detailed the manner and scale of her cybercriminal operation that reflects the role of darknet platforms in the illegal sale of personal identifiable information (PII). After her arrest, Hunter apologized for her deeds and admitted that she was not a “regular thief” in this context.
According to her confession, the suspect bough Fertitta’s social security number using Bitcoin via the darknet – using the information to create credit cards at Capital One Bank and Conn’s Home Plus. Thereafter, Lifelock caught wind of the suspicious activity and informed the victim before the matter ended up in the hands of law enforcement. Luckily for Fertitta, Hunter had not begun using his credit card to buy items.
The investigation team found that Hunter created the fake accounts on September 2019, whereby the suspect was arrested later on an unrelated charge.
Arrested and Charged
Hunter’s arrest in early February led to the confiscation of seven computers, a tablet, six credit cards, a driver’s license and a Social Security card – each of the documents bore different names. It is reported that Hunter is a previous Apple tech support employee, a factor that supports the premise that the suspect is tech-savvy.
In her own account, Hunter said that the computers found by authorities were used for work, claiming that she had never stolen any other person’s identity apart from Fertitta’s. Things would turn out different when authorities found the identities belonging to several other victims.
She was arrested on charges of fraudulently using identifying information and false statement to obtain credit. Meanwhile, the charges relating to the other victims are still pending.
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