A man alleged to be a top-tier player in two street gangs’ high-tech scheme to steal cash and identities from businesses, customers and patients across California was arraigned in Sacramento on dozens of counts tied to the operation.
Michael Damon Moore II, 24, was arraigned Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court on 40 counts ranging from grand theft to burglary to conspiracy. The alleged scheme involving stolen credit and debit card terminals forced refunds from businesses, dentists’ and medical offices onto prepaid cards and ultimately claimed victims in 13 California counties including Sacramento, Placer and Yolo. The thefts netted an estimated $1 million in bogus returns, said state Attorney General’s officials.
The operation was detailed in a massive 241-count, 132-page indictment announced Monday by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra that nabbed 32 people linked to Northern California street gangs, the Contra Costa County-based CoCo Boys and the Bully Boys and brought by a specially convened state attorney general’s grand jury.
Moore was joined by Zackary Alonza Rainer, 29, also arraigned Tuesday on suspicion of two counts of burglary connected to the indictment.
Both remain held without bail in Sacramento County custody ahead of a Thursday bail hearing.
A wave of 16 other men and women have already been arraigned on charges named in the indictment, court officials said Tuesday.
Law enforcement discovered the operation in early 2016 after investigating a string of burglaries in Northern and Central California.
Moore allegedly was part of a first rash of crimes in 2015 in Contra Costa County including break-ins to steal credit card terminals and plots to access point-of-sale terminals for cash. He also allegedly teamed with others to access credit card terminals at local dentists’ offices and furniture stores to steal customers’ identities, according to prosecutors’ charging documents.
By early 2016, prosecutors allege Moore was part of a team that hit point-of-sale registers at a Placer County auto repair and a Yolo County dentist’s office.
The crime spree began in Contra Costa and Solano counties before hitting the Napa Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles County and the Sacramento region, attorney general’s prosecutors allege in their filing.
The investigation produced reams of evidence for attorneys in the case. Moore’s attorney, Joe Farina, estimates he and other attorneys will sift through some 100,000 pages of police reports along with surveillance videos and volumes of grand jury transcripts.