Street gangs are growing more sophisticated and moving into cyberspace. Following an extensive three-year investigation, the State of California Department of Justice arrested and indicted 32 suspects on 240 counts, including identity theft, fraud and hacking. The individuals are linked to criminal street gangs the BullyBoys and the CoCo Boys, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced this week.
In total, the suspects are charged with “63 counts of conspiracy to commit grand theft; 54 counts of hacking, computer access and fraud; 56 counts of grand theft; 59 counts of burglary; and eight counts of identity theft,” according to the press release.
The criminal group targeted medical and dental businesses from 13 counties in Northern California and stole credit card terminals, in what is believed to be a fraud scheme worth $1 million. Their main focus were businesses located in Antioch, Pittsburg and Bay Point. They also gained access to Social Security Numbers and bank details that allowed them to conduct illicit operations, including fraud and identity theft. Officers retrieved 40 of the stolen terminals and detected a number of fraudulent receipts.
“Street gangs target and intimidate our families and businesses to feed their criminal enterprise,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It takes the collaborative effort of multiple law enforcement agencies to take down criminal gangs. It’s indispensable work if we’re to reclaim our neighborhoods. Today’s announcement serves as a reminder to all business owners to take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming the target of fraud.”