SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Monday 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 throughout California by hacking the credit card terminals and merchant accounts of dozens of medical and dental businesses.
Attorney General Becerra announced a 240-count indictment that includes: 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. As a result of the investigation approximately 40 stolen credit card terminals were recovered and dozens of receipts depicting fraudulent returns were located. In addition, agents 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 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.”
“This investigation remarkably demonstrates the increasing level of sophistication by which criminal gangs operate in California. The Western States Information Network (WSIN) was honored to support the coalition of agencies that led this investigation,” said Executive Director of Western States Information, Kent A. Shaw.
These 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 of 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 in order to steal credit card terminals. The perpetrators used the stolen terminals to process returns. But instead of the value of the returns going to the business or to the customer, it was placed onto a debit card that the perpetrators pocketed.
The Attorney General’s eCrime and Fraud and Special Prosecution Units are jointly prosecuting the case resulting from a multiagency investigation by the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force, Walnut Creek Police Department, Antioch Police Department, Vacaville Police Department, Sacramento Police Department, Concord Police Department, Pittsburg Police Department, Napa Police Department and multiple other law enforcement agencies across Northern California.
A copy of the indictment is available here.