California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, on the podium, and other officials announce the indictment of 32 members of the alleged street gangs, on charges of stealing more than $1 million, with an unusually sophisticated credit card fraud, at a press conference in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Sept. 10, 2018. From left are Deputy Attorney General Tawnya Austin, who is the head of the attorney-general’s e-crimes unit; Walnut Creek police chief Tom Chaplin; Becerra; Sacramento police chief Daniel Hahn; and Vacaville police chief John Carli. Authorities said Monday that the BullyBoys and the CoCo Boys street gangs scammed hundreds of victims in Northern California to break into dozens of medical and dental offices to steal credit card terminals and patient records. (AP Photo/Don Thompson)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – More than 30 alleged street gang members indicted for stealing more than $1 million in what authorities said Monday was an unusually sophisticated credit card fraud scheme.
Members and employees of the BullyBoys and the CoCo Boys street gangs, located in the suburbs east of San Francisco defrauded hundreds of victims by breaking into dozens of medical and dental offices to steal credit card terminals and patient records, said Attorney-General Xavier Becerra and the police chiefs of the three cities.
The 32 alleged gang members used the stolen terminals for processing credit card back, download, to debit cards, according to the 240-count indictment.
“It’s easier today and it is more worth it today to identity theft and financial fraud than it is to go out there on the street and commit the physical, violent crime,” Becerra said. “It is worth more at lower risk,” although he claimed to be the gangs used the money to finance other illegal activities that are not included in the indictment.
Defense attorneys, not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The research started in the beginning of 2016, when the researchers noticed similarities between the burglaries spread over the North of California.
The indictment handed down last month by a special Sacramento County on the basis of the whole of the grand jury consists of counts of conspiracy to commit grand theft; hacking, computer access and fraud; grand theft; burglary; theft of identity.
“It may not be as physically harmful and dangerous if it is approached on the street, but I can guarantee you it hurts, just as much,” Becerra said.
Almost 130 law enforcement officers fanned out the last week of the 23 arrests, said Walnut Creek police chief Tom Chaplin. The other two were arrested at the weekend, while seven remain fugitives, said Deputy Attorney General Tawnya Austin, who is the head of the attorney-general’s e-crimes unit.
Investigators recovered approximately 40 stolen credit card terminals, dozens of fraudulent receipts, laptop computers, and files, including Social Security numbers or bank information.
Street gangs have become more mobile, the choosing of targets over large regions and opportunities, such as unsecured or non-encrypted files or financial devices, said Sacramento police chief Daniel Hahn.
“We’ve all seen high tech crime will be the new battleground,” said Chaplin.