DA SINI: SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER INDICTED FOR ALLEGEDLY STEALING IDENTITY & USING CREDIT CARDS OF SUFFOLK COUNTY RESIDENT
Defendant Allegedly Charged $19K and Attempted to Charge Additional $31K to Credit Cards in the Victim’s Name
(RIVERHEAD, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced the indictment of a social media influencer for allegedly stealing the identity of a Suffolk County resident and charging approximately $19,000 in fraudulent purchases to credit cards in the victim’s name with the victim’s personal identification information.
Christian T. Aaron, 19, of Hollywood, California, is charged with two counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree, a D felony; Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a D felony; Attempted Identity Theft in the First Degree, an E felony; three counts of Identity Theft in the Second Degree, an E felony; and Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information in the Third Degree, an A misdemeanor.
“As with all of the financial crimes our office investigates and prosecutes, this was an act of greed, but this defendant wasn’t just after money; he committed these crimes in part to keep up the online persona he has crafted for himself and to get likes on social media,” District Attorney Sini said. “His alleged actions have real-world consequences though, including an extremely negative impact on the victim’s credit. This case should serve as a lesson to anyone who believes he or she can operate in anonymity by committing identity theft or other financial crimes either on the internet or over the phone: You will get caught and be held responsible.”
Aaron has a YouTube channel with more than 42,000 subscribers and has approximately 185,000 followers on his Instagram account. In February 2019, Aaron was a guest on an episode of “Dr. Phil” about social media influencers entitled “Insta-Famous to Insta-Lonely.”
In December 2017, Aaron, acting in concert with a co-defendant, allegedly used American Express credit cards belonging to a Suffolk County resident in order to purchase plane tickets from New York to Hawaii and hotel reservations and services at the Aulani Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii. Aaron also allegedly used credit cards in the victim’s name while in Hawaii to purchase handbags and clothing at multiple designer stores, including Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, and Agent Provocateur. In total, Aaron allegedly made approximately $19,000 in fraudulent purchases using credit in the victim’s name with her personal identification information.
During the same time period, Aaron allegedly called American Express on several occasions, identified himself as the victim and provided the victim’s personal identification information in order to use the credit card and to open additional credit cards in the victim’s name.
Aaron also allegedly attempted to make several purchases of designer handbags and clothing from The RealReal, an online luxury consignment store, using the credit cards for approximately $31,000, but the orders were canceled by the retailer before the items were shipped.
Aaron was arraigned on the indictment today by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro. Bail was set at $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond. He is due back in court on June 25.
If convicted of the top count, Aaron faces a maximum sentence of two and one-third to seven years in prison.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Jessica Lightstone, of the Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.