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Seven Arrested for Alleged Fraud Activities

The Manhattan Beach Police Department and U.S. Secret Service conducted a joint investigation.

Seven people were arrested Wednesday in connection with a major fraud investigation conducted jointly by the Manhattan Beach Police Department and U.S. Secret Service. Those arrested are believed to be involved with two fraudulent credit card manufacturing operations, according to a news release.

Charles Tony Williamson, 35, aka “Guerilla Black,” a Southern California rap artist, of Torrance, was arrested as were Dwanna LaShaun Franklin, 43, of Torrance, Diana Lynn Waller, 54, of Hawthorne, Rhazon Zaki Smith, 34, of Hawthorne, Reiona Marie Cage, 20, of Inglewood, and Myeisha Renee Leavell, 23, of Los Angeles.

The seven arrested could face charges for bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and fraud in connection with computers, access device fraud, use of stolen credit card accounts, receiving stolen property and conspiracy. 

Williamson is on pretrial release after being indicted on numerous fraud charges in Washington.

Police believe each "criminal enterprise" profited by more than $20,000 per month and say the figure could go higher. 

Losses related to the fraud include American Express, Capitol One, Chase, Citibank, Bank of America and Kinecta, according to the news release, as well as foreign banks in England, Switzerland, Nigeria, Mexico, Italy, Canada, Sweden, France, Australia, Norway, Ireland, Russia, Denmark and Germany.

On June 20, 2012, Williamson was charged with 22 counts of various felony offenses, all related to credit card fraud in Washington. The new charges allege he continued to use illegally obtained credit card numbers for fraud, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan, Western District of Washington.

Prosecutors say in the Washington scheme he purchased the same type of information from two co-conspirators who have already pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington.

David Benjamin Schrooten, 21, a Dutch citizen arrested in Romania, where he operated a carding website, is scheduled for sentencing in February. Christopher A. Schroebel, 21, of Keedysville, Maryland, who hacked into point of sale systems to steal credit card information, was sentenced to seven years in prison in August 2012.

In Los Angeles County Wednesday, the U.S. Marshals Service, Los Angeles District Attorney Bureau of Investigation, LA IMPACT, Hawthorne Police Department and Inglewood Police Department helped serve the seven search warrants. 

The USSS Electronic Crimes Task Force in Seattle and USSS Los Angeles Fraud Task Force conducted the investigation with MBPD.

Williamson is mentioned in this article from Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Patch

Maryland Man Who Stole Credit Card Info From Shoreline Business Sentenced to Prison

Duke Noor January 17, 2013 at 02:19 AM
Interesting story and I'm glad they were caught. The article is quite vague though. How, where and why are they all linked to the City of Manhattan Beach?
Gerry O'Connor January 17, 2013 at 06:44 AM
My thoughts exactly, Duke. In fact, late this afternoon City Manager Dave Carmany posted the press release, similarly void of any clear link to the City of MB, on his Facebook page ... where I just asked the very same question. Hopefully we'll be provided a better understanding of the local connection.
Duke Noor January 18, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Should we say "transparency" Gerry? This is 2013 after all !!!

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