A US mother and daughter have been charged after allegedly spending more than a decade running a credit card fraud scheme in which banks were bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for designer clothing purchases and luxury vacation.
Karan Geist, 61, and her daughter Alyssa Geist, 33, of Long Island near New York City, appeared Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court and pleaded not guilty to the series of charges against them. including grand theft and fraud. New York Post reports.
“This is a 13-year scheme that involved thousands of credit card transactions that Karan falsely reported, even though he incurred legitimate charges, as fraudulent,” Deputy District Attorney Catherine McCaw said during the hearing. .
Prosecutors allege that Karan falsely disputed $850,000 ($A1.2 million) in charges from approximately 14 different credit card companies between 2008 and 2021.
“These purchases ranged in nature from the luxurious to the mundane,” said District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.
“On numerous occasions, Karan booked trips for both foreigners and domestics to exotic destinations such as Paris, Milan, Norway, Costa Rica, Hawaii and elsewhere,” the ADA told Judge Laura Ward in court.
The mother allegedly received credit on her statements after calling banks and writing letters to employees falsely reporting fraudulent charges, including $205,000 ($A296,000) on her American Express cards and $US155,000 ($A224,000 ) from Chase. .
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“He booked tickets in his own name, rented cars in the name of a family member, hotel stays in his own name, and other luxury purchases such as watches and handbags while travelling,” Ms. McCaw said.
She also allegedly questioned everyday living expenses, such as purchases at the Dollar Store and even a veterinary bill for her dogs Louis and Daisy, as well as purchases at stores like Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman.
Prosecutors allege that Karan then recruited her daughter to join her and that Alyssa participated in the scam for approximately six months.
In 2016, Barclays Bank obtained surveillance footage of Karan and Alyssa making a transaction at a Chanel store, which the two later reported as a fraudulent charge, prosecutors alleged.
Alyssa, a former teacher, allegedly used one of her mother’s credit cards for a $1,400 ($A2,000) purchase in July 2017, then disputed the charge to get a refund.
While traveling to Montreal with friends in August 2017, Alyssa texted her mother about falsely disputing the charges as fraudulent, prosecutors alleged.
Alyssa left the Department of Education in 2015 and founded Tutorologie, an online and in-home tutoring service for children.
Police raided Karan’s home about a year ago and found more than 100 credit cards linked to multiple purchases, as well as receipts related to transactions that were later reported as fraud, the prosecutor’s office said.
The defendants were released on supervised release following their hearing on Friday, with their passports ordered confiscated.
Alyssa was in tears as she left court, and both she and her mother declined to comment.
“My only comment. [is] she is not guilty. She is completely innocent here and it will come out in the end,” said Alyssa’s attorney, James Pascarella. An attorney for Karan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The mother and daughter are due back in court on September 14.
This article originally appeared on theNew York Post and was reproduced here with permission