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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

California Rapper Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud Conspiracy, Access Device Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft

Rapper Who Went By ‘Guerilla Black’ Continued Fraud Even After First Arrest

            A California rap artist who performed under the name “Guerilla Black” pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle today to a scheme where credit card numbers were stolen in Seattle and fraudulently used in other states, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  CHARLES TONY WILLIAMSON, 33, of Torrance, California, conducted his criminal conduct under various names including: GUERILLA BLACK; MRBUSINESSMAN62; and BLACKDOLLA.  WILLIAMSON was on the user end of the fraud involving hacks of point of sale credit card processing at businesses in Seattle and across the U.S.  WILLIAMSON purchased credit card numbers in bulk via various ‘carding’ websites so that he and his associates could use them for fraud.  WILLIAMSON will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on October 10, 2013.

            WILLIAMSON was indicted in July 2012, following the investigation into point of sale hacking at a restaurant in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle and a retail store in Shoreline, Washington.  Two men have already been sentenced for their roles in the hacking scheme.  David Benjamin Schrooten, 21, a Dutch citizen arrested in Romania, where he operated a carding website making the credit card numbers available for fraud was sentenced in February 2012 to 12 years in prison.  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.

            Between January 11, 2011 and February 26, 2012, WILLIAMSON received and possessed at least 27,257 stolen credit card numbers, including cards issued by American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover.  Loss figures are as yet incomplete, but close to $150,000 in fraud loss has been attributed to just 134 of the over 27,000 card numbers stolen.  The indictment alleges that WILLIAMSON communicated by email with co-conspirators, telling them that he wanted to purchase “dumps” of stolen credit card numbers “in bulk,” that is lots of 100, 500 or more.  WILLIAMSON indicated that he wanted “freshly” stolen numbers so they would be easier to use, since the customers would not yet know their information had been stolen.  While on release pending trial, WILLIAMSON continued his criminal conduct by producing counterfeit credit cards and using stolen credit card numbers and was rearrested following a lengthy investigation by Manhattan Beach Police Department and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) Electronic Crimes Task Force in Seattle and USSS Los Angeles Fraud Task Force.  In his plea agreement WILLIAMSON admits the credit card fraud both before and after his arrest on the indictment in the Western District of Washington.  WILLIAMSON has remained in custody since his arrest in January 2013.

            WILLIAMSON pleaded guilty to conspiracy and unauthorized access to a protected computer to facilitate fraud.  Both are punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  WILLIAMSON also pleaded guilty to access device fraud which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  He pleaded guilty to bank fraud which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine and he pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft which is punishable by a mandatory minimum two years in prison consecutive to any other sentence imposed in the case.

The case is being investigated by the Seattle U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force and Seattle Police Department as part of the Task Force, with assistance provided by the Manhattan Beach (California) Police Department and the Los Angeles Field Office, U.S. Secret Service.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn Warma.

Updated March 23, 2015