The California Department of Justice announced Monday it has secured a 240-count indictment against members of two East Contra Costa County street gangs that prosecutors say teamed up to defraud people and businesses all over the state. Members of the Co Co Boys and the Bully Boys were arrested last week on charges that range from conspiracy, burglary, grand theft, identity theft to computer hacking. Police say that for months the two groups worked together to burglarize businesses and commit various forms of fraud.
The charges are emblematic of a growing trend among California gangs that in recent years have branched out into electronic fraud and identity theft as a moneymaking scheme, authorities say. According to police, some of the fraudulently obtained cash was used to buy care packages and phone calls for inmates in California jails and prisons.
The burglars tended to target dental and medicare care facilities, and stole patient information as well as credit card terminals. Added together, members of the group committed more than $1 million in credit card fraud, authorities said. The group allegedly burglarized businesses in 13 California counties. During the operation, 40 terminals were recovered and police identified at least 60 identity theft victims, authorities said. In one February 2016 burglary of a dentist’s office in Napa, three members of the group — Toni Coffman, Gerald Oretger and Zackary Rainer — were stopped and arrested minutes later.
Authorities searched a storage unit belonging to Coffman and recovered 28 stolen credit card terminals. They also found patient medical records that had been stolen from a business in Stockton, according to court records. Authorities describe the Bully Boys as a street gang based in Bay Point and Pittsburg, with loose affiliations to other known gangs. The Co Co Boys are a white street gang with ties to the Family Affiliated Irish Mafia, or FAIM, and have membership across Contra Costa County, as well as a presence in the county jail. The 240-count indictment, unsealed Monday, 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. [Source: The Mercury News]