LOS ANGELES – A recent investigation targeting Electronic Benefit Transfer card fraud in Los Angeles County led to the arrests of 16 suspects and the seizure of hundreds of illegally cloned EBT cards and more than $100,000 in cash, authorities said Thursday.
“For some time now, suspects have been stealing the private account information of California’s EBT card holders,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.
“These suspects then create illegal cloned cards encoded with that victim account information and conduct large cash withdrawals from the victims’ accounts at ATM machines throughout Los Angeles County and the entire state of California, causing millions of dollars in losses to federal, state and local taxpayers,” the LAPD said.
The Southern California High Tech Task Force includes personnel from the LAPD, The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General.
The Task Force worked in conjunction with the California Department of Social Services, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, and multiple financial institutions led by Bank of America’s Global Protective Services Team, to identify the locations in Los Angeles County where suspects were committing the majority of these crimes.
Investigators arrested 16 suspects and seized 339 illegally cloned EBT cards and $106,269 in cash.
“Task Force investigators intend to further investigate these suspects and any links to additional suspects and crimes related to this criminal enterprise,” the LAPD said.
Felony criminal filings by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Cyber Crimes Division are pending against each of the suspects arrested during the recent operation.
Los Angeles was one of several counties that participated in the statewide effort to combat EBT Fraud.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Southern California High Tech Task Force at 818-576-8860; 877-LAPD-247; or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.