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July 9, 2013 at 2:03 PM

California rapper pleads guilty to credit-card fraud in Seattle

It looks like California rap artist Charles Tony “Guerilla Black” Williamson will be performing for a captive audience.

Williamson pleaded guilty today in federal court in Seattle to running a credit-card scam that involved stealing credit card numbers here and elsewhere,  and using them in other states.

Williamson, 33, of Torrance, Calif., was on what the U.S. Attorney’s Office is calling the “user end” of the fraud, buying credit-card numbers in bulk so he and his associates could use them for fraud.

Prosecutors allege Williamson possessed more than 27,000 stolen credit-card numbers in 2011 and 2012 and used some of them to purchase more than $150,000 in merchandise. Williamson was indicted by a Seattle grand jury in July 2012, following the investigation into point-of-sale hacking at a restaurant in the Magnolia neighborhood and a retail store in Shoreline.

He was released pending trial, and re-arrested when California police and the U.S. Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Force found he was still at it, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Williamson pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, access-device fraud, unauthorized access to a protected computer. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum term of up to 30 years in prison, and the identity-fraud charge carries a mandatory two-year sentence. In all, he faces up to 55 years in prison and fines of $1.5 million.

Prosecutors say Williamson used the names, “Guerilla Black,” “MRBUSINESSMAN62,” and “BLACKDOLLA.”

Williamson had modest success as a rap artist out of South-Central Los Angeles, releasing a 2004 album “Compton” that included a well-received single and a video by the same named performed with reggae artist Beenie Man.

Two codefendants,  David Benjamin Schrooten, 21, a Dutch citizen arrested in Romania, where he operated a 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, Md., who hacked into point-of-sale computers, received seven years.

Williamson will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on Oct. 10.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: credit-card fraud, plea, U.S. Attorney's Office


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