What Happened in Vegas...

Page 3 of 8

LifeLock's business and administrative folks work in the less-secure part of the suite. Smaller enclosed offices for the company's executives line the wall at one end.

Prusinski had set up a meeting for New Times with Robert Maynard and LifeLock CEO Todd Davis. But a few days before the interview, Prusinski had called to say Maynard was too busy to make it. Maynard was going on a business trip, meeting with shock jock Howard Stern to discuss radio advertising options. And after that he was, well, "really busy." Told that New Times had questions about Maynard's 2003 arrest, Prusinski says Maynard has been "touchy" lately about discussing the details.

When a reporter and photographer arrive at LifeLock midmorning on the appointed date, Maynard's long office, with a fiery abstract painting at one end, looks as if it was vacated only minutes earlier. A laptop, next to his desktop computer, is open; half-empty cups of coffee and water sit next to paperwork.

Davis, about 40 with blondish, short hair, invites the reporter and photographer into his office, which is adjacent to Maynard's but is smaller.

As he explains LifeLock's services, it becomes clear that if trust is one of the company's key concepts, another is fear.

Davis is a wealth of scary statistics: Americans are 25 times more likely to be victims of identity theft than vehicle theft. Data breeches at U.S. companies spurred 150 million warning letters to Americans since 2005.

And then there's Maynard's story.

"They don't know how his identification was stolen," Davis says. "But it was stolen, and he went to, uh, the thief went to Las Vegas and opened lines of credit."

The cops put Maynard in handcuffs in front of his family and took him to jail in Phoenix. Authorities in Clark County, Nevada, tried to have him extradited. Davis integrates selling points into the tale.

"If he'd had the fraud alerts in place, it would have stopped the transaction before it happened, so he wouldn't have had to go to jail," Davis says.

Davis acknowledges that casinos keep a copy of the ID of any person who takes out a loan as large as $16,000. But he says Maynard would have had to spend weeks in jail before authorities allowed him to prove he was innocent with a simple comparison of photos.

Davis again switches to sales mode: "We would have gone to the casino and said, 'Let's see the tape. That's clearly not our client.' Our client would not have stayed in jail. He would have been exonerated quickly."

As it was, Maynard figured the best thing to do was just pay the casino its money, Davis says.

"That was the quickest way to get out from under the problem, 'cause he's in jail," Davis says. "He had to make a financial decision: 'Do I dig my heels in on moral grounds, or do I make this go away?'"

It's as if Davis is describing the actions of a man to whom money means nothing.

Yet in 2003, Maynard already was up to his eyeballs in debt. Questioned pointedly on this issue, Davis appears nervous. His foot starts bouncing under his desk. He insists that he believes Maynard's yarn is perfectly accurate.

Asked why Maynard would have to forfeit the $16,000 if he could prove he didn't take out the loan, Davis says Maynard eventually did get his money back.

But that contradicts part of the story Davis has told many times — that the experience "cost" Maynard $20,000, a figure he says included the $16,000.

Davis flip-flops later in the conversation, saying he was "under the impression" that Maynard never recovered the money.

Before the interview, New Times had made a call to Bernie Zadrowski, chief deputy district attorney in Clark County, Nevada, and supervisor of the office's bad check division.

Maynard's case was actually very simple, Zadrowski says.

A casino marker is the same thing as a personal check under Nevada law. It's a way gamblers avoid the risk of carrying around big wads of cash. A high-roller submits a form for the marker with his or her checking account number and obtains a stack of chips. The casino then has the right to deposit the marker at any time but usually waits a few months. That way, Zadrowski says, if the gambler's losses are high, the casino gives the gambler time to pay the money back. And everyone is happy.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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.