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Exec at ID protection firm quits

Robert Maynard resigns as LifeLock's marketing chief after questions arise about his past.

June 12, 2007|Joseph Menn | Times Staff Writer

The controversial co-founder of LifeLock Inc., a company that helps people fight identity theft, resigned Monday in the wake of reports about his past run-ins with fraud regulators and law enforcement officials.

Robert J. Maynard Jr. stepped down as chief marketing officer of LifeLock but will remain a shareholder and marketing consultant to the privately held Tempe, Ariz.-based company.

"He has chosen to step down from the company so no one can question the integrity of LifeLock," said co-founder Todd Davis, the chief executive.

Maynard was accused by federal regulators a decade ago of helping arrange unauthorized withdrawals from customer accounts at a credit improvement company. The Times reported on Maynard's history Saturday. Maynard, who was chief operating officer until this year, will keep his less than 10% stake, Davis said. He won't have access to company computers or customer files, Davis said.

Even as the company acted, new questions arose about the company's marketing claims, which have been overseen by Maynard. To demonstrate the effectiveness of LifeLock's services, Davis publishes his Social Security number on the company's website. LifeLock puts fraud alerts on consumer records at the major credit bureaus as part of its service.

"Just like we have with mine, LifeLock will make your personal information useless to a criminal," Davis writes on the site, adding that LifeLock's protection is guaranteed to as much as $1 million in losses and legal expenses.

But LifeLock spokesman Mike Prusinski confirmed Monday that Davis' name and Social Security number were inappropriately used to get a $500 loan in Texas. The incident could adversely affect Davis' credit rating.

Prusinski said that no company could stop all incidents and that LifeLock was investigating the case, which was reported by Wired.com.

LifeLock employs well-known radio personalities including Rush Limbaugh, Paul Harvey, Howard Stern and former Sen. Fred D. Thompson as its spokespeople. It says nearly 200,000 customers entrust the company with their Social Security numbers and other sensitive data.

Recent articles in The Times and elsewhere have tied Maynard to National Credit Foundation Inc., a failed "credit-repair" business that the Federal Trade Commission in 1996 said misled consumers by claming it could erase credit-damaging records of bankruptcy filings.

The FTC also alleged that Maynard and another executive at the firm collected checking-account data from customers not for "verification" but to make unauthorized withdrawals from those accounts.

Maynard settled the allegations without admitting wrongdoing but agreed to be barred from "advertising, promoting, offering for sale, selling, performing or distributing any product or service relating to credit-improvement services." Davis said. LifeLock does credit protection, not credit improvement.

In an interview Friday, Maynard said his past problems, including two personal bankruptcy filings, the last in 2005, stemmed from bipolar disorder diagnosed in 2001. Maynard said he was being treated and had cleaned up his act.

Maynard didn't respond to a message seeking comment Monday.

joseph.menn@latimes.com

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