Compton rapper Guerilla Black was on the rise in the mid-2000s with the release of his 2005 debut, Guerilla City. While he garnered nationwide recognition and a push from Jive Records, he was meant with resistance, simply because he sounded too much like the late Notorious B.I.G.
Although he's remained active -- releasing a handfull of mixtape, his last being 2009's The Blacktapes -- the rapper has remained under the radar. This week, however, he resurfaced when he made headlines after being arrested for identity theft.
According to the Seattle PD Blotter, the 33-year-old rapper (real name: Charles Tony Williamson) was arrested at his Los Angeles home on Thursday (July 12) on a 22-count indictment that alleges he purchased and used stolen credit/debit card numbers obtained through the computer hacks of two Seattle area businesses -- a restaurant in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood and a restaurant supply company in Shoreline.
Along with Guerilla Black, two co-conspirators (David Benjamin Schrooten, 22, of the Netherlands, and Christopher A. Schroebel, 21, of Keedysville, Maryland) have also been indicted and arrested in the scheme for hacking into and selling the credit card info of the aforementioned Seattle businesses.
The rapper was apparently communicating with the two hackers via email, requesting "dumps" of stolen credit card numbers "in bulk" of 100, 500 or more. He also asked for "freshly" stolen numbers, so they would be easier to use, because it'd take longer for victims to realize their info had been stolen. The indictment says that Black had received and used at least 27,257 stolen credit card numbers from American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover between January 2011 to February 2012.
While it's unclear how much he had spent on others' dimes, estimates said the number was close to $150,000 in fraud loss has been attributed to just 134 of the over 27,000 card numbers stolen.
Schroebel was arrested in November 2011, and has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced next month; while Schrooten was arrested in Romania in March and was extradited to Western Washington last month.
Guerilla Black faces charges of conspiracy to access protected computers to further fraud, to commit access device fraud and to commit bank fraud; two counts of accessing a protected computer without authorization to further fraud; six counts of access device fraud; eight counts of bank fraud; and five counts of aggravated identity theft.
While it's unclear how much time he faces altogther, bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine; access device fraud and damaging a protected computer are punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine; conspiracy is punishable by five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; and aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory consecutive two year prison term.