By New Times
By Connor Radnovich
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Ray Stern
By Keegan Hamilton
By Matthew Hendley
By Monica Alonzo
By Monica Alonzo
Former and current LifeLock customers can apply for refunds by contacting the FTC (see www.ftc.gov/lifelock) or by waiting to receive an FTC letter stating they're eligible for refunds. There's no predicting how many customers will ask for their money back.
The FTC settlement was embarrassing for at least two of the 35 participating state attorneys general, thanks to LifeLock's partnership with the national Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, known as FBI-LEEDA.
The 19-year-old FBI-LEEDA, based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, helps educate cops in the latest crime-fighting trends and keeps them plugged in with veterans and specialists. It's affiliated with the FBI, to an extent: An FBI liaison to the association's executive board, currently Agent Charles Robb Jr., gets paid by the bureau for his work with the association. Robb didn't respond to a request for an interview.
The nonprofit organization has two "Premiere Level" sponsors: Purdue Pharma and LifeLock. The Tempe company pays $25,000 a year for the honor, according to FBI-LEEDA's Web site. LifeLock makes DuPont (maker of Kevlar), Scottsdale-based Taser International, and Glock — who sponsor at the platinum, gold and bronze levels, respectively — look cheap.
For the past couple of years, LifeLock also has sponsored high-profile ID-theft-focused training seminars with FBI-LEEDA, paying for keynote speakers, continental breakfasts, and box lunches for hundreds of attendees. The organization's executive director, Tom Stone, supports LifeLock wholeheartedly.
Stone tells New Times that LifeLock pays all that money to FBI-LEEDA because "as a corporate citizen, they are giving something back to the community."
The former chief of police from Virginia emphasizes that the FTC's settlement was a civil, not criminal, penalty. He dismisses concern about the company's reputation, saying he has no response to the FTC's findings.
"I'm not going to attempt to go there," Stone huffs. "As far as what happened with the FTC and anything civilly, it's not within my purview."
Taking LifeLock's money, though, is apparently within his purview.
For other government law offices, the relationship with LifeLock has soured after the FTC action.
The first FBI-LEEDA/LifeLock summit following the FTC's March announcement about LifeLock was on April 20 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Monroe had been scheduled to speak at the summit, but his planned participation irked North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, one of the officials who had gone after LifeLock. Cooper called Monroe the week before the summit and asked him not to go, says Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Sergeant Walter Bowling. The chief acquiesced and skipped the summit.
"It was out of respect for the AG's office," Bowling says. "There was some discomfort with [Chief Monroe] coming out, putting his face out to it."
Stone claims he's "unaware" that the chief ever was supposed to go to the summit or give a speech. He notes that about 25 members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg department still showed up.
Bowling, who helped organize his department's participation in the summit, says he researched LifeLock beforehand and decided the company was sincere about improving. He's no apologist like Stone, admitting, "I'm not an idiot — I know they get some benefit from it."
Cops benefited from the summit, he adds, by gaining valuable knowledge from the expert speakers on tackling identity crimes. LifeLock's funding helped make it happen.
"It's difficult in these economic times to find and attend training," Bowling writes in an e-mail.
Nevada's another state whose law-enforcement connection to LifeLock — in light of the recent FTC ruling — comes off as both ironic and hypocritical.
Last June, the Nevada attorney general's office co-hosted one of the summits with FBI-LEEDA and LifeLock.
Nevada's AG, Catherine Cortez Masto, smiles in a picture with Todd Davis taken at the event as if they're the best of friends. LifeLock used the picture prominently on a Web page about the summits — even after Masto joined the FTC and the 34 other attorneys general in targeting the firm for legal action.
A spokeswoman for the Nevada attorney general's office, Edie Cartwright, says there are "no plans" to host another LifeLock-linked summit. She thanked New Times for the heads-up on the photograph of Masto and Davis.
"We did not realize that was on their site," she said. "And they had not asked for permission so we requested that they remove it." (LifeLock took down the picture.)
Though appreciative at first, Cartwright became terse when asked whether Masto could come to the phone to talk about the picture and past dealings with LifeLock.
"There's no quote," she said stiffly.
Now, a detour to Waikiki.
No story about LifeLock would be complete without describing what happened to the charismatic, veracity-challenged Robert Maynard Jr. after he resigned from LifeLock. Maynard's a fascinating character — a former Marine, brilliant, ambitious to a fault, and a sufferer of bipolar disorder and depression.
New Times' 2007 article covered Maynard's background in detail. The Northern Arizona University graduate emerged from a bankruptcy in the mid-1990s to become a millionaire as the head of the National Credit Foundation, a shady credit-repair company. But his overspending and risky investments had put him back into deep debt by 2005, when he filed another bankruptcy.