California attorney general Xavier Becerra has announced the arrest and indictment of 32 individuals associated with criminal street gangs throughout Northern California known as the BullyBoys and the CoCo Boys. The gangs and their associates conspired to defraud victims by hacking the credit card terminals and merchant accounts of dozens of medical and dental businesses in the region.
The indictment includes 63 counts of conspiracy to commit grand theft; 54 counts of hacking, computer access, and fraud; 59 counts of burglary; and eight counts of identity theft. About 40 stolen credit card terminals have been recovered, and dozens of receipts depicting fraudulent returns were located. Agents also seized other stolen property such as laptop computers and personal files detailing Social Security numbers or bank information.
“Street gangs target and intimidate our families and businesses to feed their criminal enterprise,” said 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.”
“This investigation remarkably demonstrates the increasing level of sophistication by which criminal gangs operate in California. The Western States Information Network was honored to support the coalition of agencies that led this investigation,” said Kent A. Shaw, Western States Information executive director.
The arrests are the culmination of a three-year multi-agency investigation of a series of burglaries and credit card schemes occurring in 13 counties across Northern California. The investigation, which began in February 2016, discovered similarities between schemes in which credit card terminals were burglarized from businesses in cities around Northern California.
Law enforcement discovered the schemes were tied to two criminal street gangs in the Antioch, Pittsburg, and Bay Point areas, the BullyBoys and the CoCo Boys. The gang members worked together to burglarize businesses to steal credit card terminals. The perpetrators then used the terminals to process returns. But instead of the value of the returns going to the business or the consumer, it was placed on a debit card that the perpetrators pocketed.