What Happened in Vegas...

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Horror stories like Maynard's are staples in almost any discussion about identity theft. Clearly, such stories may influence people to take counter-measures — signing up with LifeLock, for instance. No wonder that Maynard and Davis, LifeLock's chief operating officer, seem to relish repeating how Maynard became a victim.

Maynard's life was soon looking up again — big time.

Today, he's one of the heads of a multimillion-dollar company based in Tempe that employs dozens of people. The company claims to have more than 150,000 customers, which is a lot of people paying $10 a month. Last month, a trio of investors, including the local Biltmore Ventures group, gave LifeLock an additional $6 million in seed funding. LifeLock advertises heavily on the Internet and radio; its ads can be heard on the Howard Stern, Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh shows.

Against a backdrop of unrelenting hype over identity theft, credulous news reporters gulped Maynard's story down like cold beer. But a simple Google search reveals Maynard's credibility in the business community was long ago shot.

His credit-repair company was shut down by authorities in the early 1990s for false advertising and deceptive practices. Forced closure means that a federal court order has banned Maynard from working in the credit-repair industry — forever.

That he continues to work in the industry, despite the court order, should surprise no one who knows his history. It also shouldn't surprise anybody that Maynard's story about how he became a victim is only partially true.

Maynard did, in fact, spend a week in jail in 2003 because of an unpaid $16,000 casino marker drawn from the Mirage.

It was Maynard's marker. The casino took a copy of his Arizona driver's license when he took out the loan.

There was no identity theft.

But an even more serious reflection on Maynard in his new role as Mr. Identity Theft can be found alongside the paper trail of lawsuits against him in Maricopa County Superior Court.

American Express sued Maynard's father in 2005 for $154,000 in unpaid bills. But Dr. Robert J. Maynard Sr., a prominent local eye doctor, denied he ordered the card.

Records show that someone with Maynard Sr.'s personal information ordered the card. But that someone didn't have the bills sent to Maynard Sr.'s home. Instead, the bills went to a company called Netshield, at a Phoenix address used by one of Maynard Jr.'s former firms.

Though Maynard Sr. says he never asked for the card, he settled with the company. Coincidentally, Maynard Jr. has $170,000 in debt to American Express listed on his 2005 bankruptcy paperwork — and his father is named as a co-debtor.

If Maynard Jr. ordered the card using his dad's data, without his dad's knowledge, that would make him — you got it — an identity thief.

Of course, his father could have lied to American Express. Perhaps, Dr. Maynard ordered the card for his son.

But that's not what Dr. Maynard tells New Times.

The elder Maynard says he's still in litigation on the matter and cannot fully comment. But asked whether Maynard Jr. used his dad's identity to obtain the card, Dr. Maynard, who says he hasn't spoken to his son in more than two years, replies, "I can't disagree with that."

Security at LifeLock, which shares suites in an office building at Rural and Guadalupe roads, rivals that of the FBI building in downtown Phoenix.

Visitors are asked to leave their driver's licenses at the front desk during their stay. Employees press an electronic fingerprint reader to gain access beyond the reception desk into a hallway with lockers. The personal effects of workers must be put into the lockers before they pass into the main offices, and workers mustn't take anything in or out of those offices.

Mike Prusinski, the company's bald and beefy spokesman, explains that LifeLock is proud to be the smallest company in the world with ISO 27001 certification, the highest security rating possible for a business involved in data exchange.

Such high-level security must be a reassurance for customers, who must release to LifeLock exactly the kind of personal data that would make them prone to identity theft. To deal with the credit bureaus on behalf of customers, LifeLock must become a legal representative of these customers.

Trust, then, is one of LifeLock's key selling points.

Past the lockers is a secure room with glass walls next to a larger, open office space. Inside the room, which requires a magnetic card swipe to enter, about 10 employees sit in front of computers talking into headsets. They're taking inbound calls from people signing up with LifeLock, people who are giving out Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers and bank-card numbers, so that the company can debit $10 a month from their checking accounts or credit cards. On the wall hangs a large, flat-panel computer screen with a map of the United States that shows where the calls are coming from.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.