SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- More than 30 East Bay street gang members were indicted Monday for allegedly running a $1 million fraud scheme by stealing and hacking credit card terminals and accounts of dozens of Northern California businesses.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the charges against 32 members of the BullyBoy and CoCo Boys street gangs which operate in Antioch, Pittsburg, and Bay Point.
The gangs reportedly worked together to steal credit card terminals from businesses and then used those terminals to process fake returns. Rather than having the returns go back to the business or the customer, the gang members would put money on a debit card and keep the card themselves.
Investigators say the suspects hit dozens of businesses including many medical and dental offices in 11 Northern California counties over a period of two years. Officials say the locations include businesses in Antioch, Pittsburg, Vacaville, Stockton, Modesto, Hayward, Hercules, Pleasant Hill, Fairfield, Sacramento, Walnut Creek, Rocklin, Concord, Kentfield, Roseville, Vallejo, Pleasanton, Livermore, Auburn, Napa, Dublin, Santa Clara, Brentwood and San Rafael.
"This investigation remarkably demonstrates the increasing level of sophistication by which criminal gangs operate in California," said Kent A. Shaw, Executive Director of Western States Information network which was involved in the investigation.
Investigators say they recovered 40 stolen credit card terminals and dozens of receipts depicting fraudulent returns.
The suspects face 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.
"Street gangs target and intimidate our families and businesses to feed their criminal enterprise," said Attorney General Becerra. "Today's announcement serves as a reminder to all business owners to take all necessary precautions to avoid becoming the target of fraud."