'Dumb mistake’: Woman accused of stealing identity of billionaire Tilman Fertitta, opening up credit cards in his name
SPRING, Texas – Investigators arrested a 28-year-old mother of two and confiscated computers, credit cards and other items at her Spring home after they said she stole billionaire Tilman Fertitta’s identity.
“It was, I mean, spur of the moment,” Stephanie Hunter said in an interview after her arrest. “I do apologize for it. It wasn’t something that I do on a regular basis or anything like that.”
Hunter said she bought Fertitta’s social security number on the dark web using Bitcoin and used it to open credit cards at Capital One Bank and Conn’s Home Plus.
Lifelock, an identity theft protection company, caught the suspicious account activity, alerted Fertitta and he called police before Hunter bought anything, according to court documents.
Hunter said it cost her “roughly $10” to buy his social security number, which she now calls “a dumb mistake.”
“I didn’t even know who he was, honestly,” Hunter said, adding that someone else suggested she buy his identity. “I didn’t know who he was at all."
Forbes estimates that Fertitta, TV personality and owner of Landry’s, Golden Nugget Casinos and the Houston Rockets, is worth about $4.8 billion.
According to court documents, Hunter opened the fraudulent accounts on Sept. 2, 2019, and investigators arrested her about a month later on an unrelated charge, and she confessed.
In early February, investigators arrested Hunter and confiscated three laptops, four desktop computers, an iPad, six credit cards, a driver’s license and a social card, each with different names.
Hunter said she worked for Apple tech support and that the confiscated computers were used for work or old and unused. She claimed to have never stolen anyone’s identity except Fertitta’s.
Hunter faces a felony charge of fraudulent use of identifying information.
Fertitta was in Austin on Tuesday and did not return a request for comment through his office.
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