US mother and daughter charged more than $1.2 million in fraudulent charges on credit cards.
The mother and daughter looked like they had a normal life, but police say they scammed people for more than 13 years and stole $1.2 million.
A US mother and daughter have been charged with credit card fraud after allegedly running a scheme for more than a decade in which they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from banks to pay for designer clothes and luxury vacations.
The New York Post says that Karan Geist, 61, and her daughter Alyssa Geist, 33, both from Long Island near New York City, went to Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to the many charges against them, which include grand theft and fraud.
During the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw said, “This is a 13-year scheme that involved thousands of credit card transactions that Karan falsely reported as fraudulent, even though they were real charges.”
Prosecutors say that between 2008 and 2021, Karan made up reasons to dispute about $US850,000 (A$1.2 million) in charges from about 14 different credit card companies.
The office of District Attorney Alvin Bragg said that these purchases were both expensive and simple.
“On many occasions, Karan booked trips to Paris, Milan, Norway, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and other exotic places, both abroad and in the United States,” the ADA told Justice Laura Ward in court.
The mother allegedly got a credit on her bank statements after calling banks and writing letters to employees to report fake charges, including $US205,000 ($A296,000) on her American Express cards and $US155,000 ($A224,000) from Chase.
Ms. McCaw said, “While she was traveling, she bought tickets in her own name, rented cars in the name of a family member, stayed in hotels in her own name, and bought expensive things like watches and handbags in her own name.”
She is also said to have disputed normal expenses like trips to the Dollar Store and a vet bill for her dogs Louis and Daisy, as well as shopping trips at Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman.
Prosecutors say that Karan later got her daughter, Alyssa, to join her in the scam, and that Alyssa took part for about six months.
In 2016, Barclays Bank got surveillance footage of Karan and Alyssa making a purchase at a Chanel store. Prosecutors say that the two of them later reported the purchase as a fake charge.
Alyssa, a former teacher, is said to have used one of her mother’s credit cards to buy something for $US1400 ($A2000) in July 2017 and then disputed the charge to get her money back.
Prosecutors say that in August 2017, while Alyssa was on a trip with friends to Montreal, she sent her mom a text message about how to make up fake reasons to dispute charges.
Alyssa left the Department of Education in 2015 to start Tutorologie, a service that helps kids with homework at home and online.
The DA’s Office said that when police raided Karan’s home about a year ago, they found more than 100 credit cards tied to multiple purchases and receipts for transactions that were later reported as fraud.
After their hearing on Friday, the people who were accused were put on supervised release and their passports were taken away.
Alyssa was crying as she left court, and neither she nor her mother would say anything.
“All I can say is that she is not guilty. Alyssa’s lawyer, James Pascarella, said, “She is completely innocent, and the truth will come out in the end.” Karan’s lawyer didn’t answer right away when asked for a comment.
On September 14, the mother and daughter will be back in court.