- Associated Press - Monday, August 10, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Thirty two members and associates of a Long Beach street gang have been indicted on charges of operating a $14.3 million identity theft and tax fraud scheme, authorities said Monday.

The indictments came after a three-year investigation that started when a Long Beach police detective discovered the personal information of hundreds of California residents at an address associated with the gang.

According to prosecutors, gang members used stolen personal information to file fraudulent tax returns and obtain refunds that were loaded onto prepaid debit cards and used for illicit gang activities, recruiting members and funding a lavish lifestyle.

“This violent street gang orchestrated a sophisticated scheme to steal the identities of hardworking Californians and defraud the government of millions in taxpayer money,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. “These victims had their identities stolen and face financial harm as a result of this theft.”

The Insane Crip gang members and associates charged in the scheme face 283 counts of criminal conspiracy, 299 counts of identity theft, 226 counts of grand theft and 58 counts of attempted theft.

They are accused of stealing over $3.3 million and attempting to steal more than $11 million more.

Twenty-two of those indicted were taken into custody Monday. Warrants for the arrest of 10 more have been issued.

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