Authorities have charged thirteen people, most of whom are linked to La Mirada and Norwalk-based street gangs for their part in a bank fraud scheme involving "skimmed" credit cards and in narcotics, with one case involving over three kilograms of methamphetamine.
The credit card skimming operation was allegedly run by a man lined to a street gang known as the La Mirada Punks, and the Caremelas. Russell Jay Ogden, and his wife, are accused of leading the skimming operation that resulted in more than 500 credit cards being compromised.
The gang allegedly were skimming credit cards at a restaurant in Huntington Beach. Members of the scheme then transferred that information to counterfeit cards and used those cards to purchase big ticket items that were later sold at a profit.
A Department of Justice indictment revealed some of the hundreds of credit card charges. Most ranged in the amounts from $300 to $3,000 at department stores like Nordstrom, and Bloomingdales, with some invoices dating back to 2013.
Among some of the items that were purchased to be resold at a later time included, a gold purse, two Nikon D 750 DSLRs and a Cannon 5D Mark 3 DSLR, wet suits, Beats by Dre headphones and even a crossbow that cost $2,000.
Some of the items were noted as gifts to family members like the wetsuit for another member of the gang. Some of the other items the gang purchased included:
• GoPro cameras
• A Uniden Walkie-Talkie
• An Epson Projector
• An air conditioning unit
• Tory Burch jewelry
• Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Tory Burch purses
• Designer belts
• A gold purse
• A stroller
In total, more than 500 credit cards were compromised with losses to various financial institutions coming out to be more than $500,000 according to the Justice Department's indictment.
Most of the defendants who were indicted have felony records according to the indictment unsealed in court. Each defendant has been charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, with some being charged in other courts for credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors say evidence uncovered during the raid on Monday demonstrated that the credit card scheme was ongoing.