NY mother and daughter ran credit card charge scam to fund lavish lifestyle: indictment

Like mother, like scammer. 

A Long Island mother and daughter have been indicted over a more than decade-long credit card fraud scheme in which they allegedly scammed banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for purchases of designer duds and luxurious vacations, The Post has learned.

Karan Geist, 61, and her daughter Alyssa Geist, 33, appeared in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to the slew of charges against them, including grand larceny and fraud.

“This is a 13-year scheme that involved thousands of credit card transactions whereby Karan falsely reported — even though she incurred legitimate charges — as fraudulent,” said Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw during the hearing.

Prosecutors allege Karan falsely disputed $850,000 in charges from approximately 14 different credit card companies between 2008 and 2021.

“These purchases ranged in nature from the luxurious to the mundane,” according to District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.

“On numerous occasions, Karan booked travel both for foreign and domestic to exotic destinations including Paris, Milan, Norway, Costa Rica, Hawaii and a number of other places,” the ADA told Justice Laura Ward in court. 

The Huntington resident — a former a paraprofessional at Elwood Middle School — allegedly received credit on her statements after calling banks and writing letters to employees falsely reporting fraudulent charges, including $205,000 on her American Express cards and $155,000 from Chase.

“She booked tickets in her own name, car rentals in her family member’s name, hotel stays in her own name, and other luxurious purchases like watches and handbags while she was traveling,” McCaw said.

She also allegedly disputed mundane life expenses, such as purchases at the Dollar Store and even a veterinary bill for her dogs Louis and Daisy, as well as shopping sprees at the likes of Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman.

Prosecutors allege that Karan — who lost her middle school gig in in November 2016, according to Board of Education records, — later recruited her daughter to join in the family racket. They charged that Alyssa, a former New York City teacher, took part in the con for approximately six months.

In 2016, Barclays Bank obtained surveillance footage of Karan and Alyssa making a transaction at a Chanel store — which the two later reported as a fraudulent charge, prosecutors alleged.

Alyssa — who left the city Department of Education in 2015 and founded Tutorologie, a home and online tutoring service for kids — allegedly used one of her mom’s credit cards for a $1,400 purchase in July 2017. Following Karan’s specific instructions, she then disputed the charge to get a refund, prosecutors charged.

While traveling to Montreal with friends in August 2017, Alyssa texted her mom about how to falsely dispute charges as fraudulent, prosecutors alleged.

Alyssa graduated from St. Joseph’s University in 2011 with a major in secondary math education, where she was a member of the sorority Zeta Sigma Phi. In her sorority bio, she was asked what her favorite hobby was, she replied “I have a shopping addiction/semi problem.”

Police raided Karan’s home about a year ago, and found more than 100 credit cards tied to multiple purchases — including a refrigerator and sunglasses — as well as receipts related to transactions that were later reported as fraud, the DA’s Office said.

The accused con artists were freed on supervised release following their hearing on Friday, and their passports were ordered confiscated.

Alyssa, who wore ragged jeans and a printed top, was in tears as she left court, and both she and her mom declined to comment.

“My only comment [is] she is not guilty. She is completely innocent here and it will come out in the end,” said Alyssa’s attorney James Pascarella. A lawyer for Karan did not immediately return a request for comment.

The mom and daughter are due back in court September 14.